Xi3, the company making the mysterious Valve-backed “Piston Console,” says that it will be revealing more information about the product this Tuesday.
In a brief update to the Xi3 site, the hardware makers say that “the wait is over,” and that they’ll have more info on the modular PC on Monday 9/30 at 11AM Mountain time (or Tuesday, October 1 at 3AM AEST). They also shared this image:
The Piston, a small, modular PC designed to be treated like a living-room gaming console, was first revealed in January. It runs a 3.2GHz CPU and 8 gigs of RAM, with a starting pre-order price of $US999. At the same time they announced the Piston, Xi3 announced that they’d received an investment for the hardware from Valve. Since then, it’s become a bit unclear just what role Valve played in the Piston’s development — the next day Valve distanced itself from Xi3, saying that the Piston was just one of multiple ‘Steam Box’ hardware prototypes.
Then in March, Xi3 said that Valve had specifically asked them to make the product. In a lengthy statement sent over at that time, Xi3 further confused things, particularly with this bit:
“For example, the assumption of many in the media has been that Piston is the ‘official’ Steam Box. We’ve never said that and neither has Valve. That hasn’t changed. But just because Valve may not ‘currently’ have any ‘involvement with any product of (ours)’ doesn’t mean that such involvement won’t exist in the future.”
They went on to explain that their vision was counter to Valve’s in some ways, including their feeling that Windows OS should be at the core of the machine, though it should be able to run any OS the user chose. Xi3 closed by saying, “What Valve does or doesn’t do with its Steam Box will be up to them. So Gabe, it’s up to you. The ball is in your court.”
Xi3’s announcement-announcement comes on the heels of Valve’s own announcement of ‘Steam Machines,’ a collection of TV set-top PCs made by different manufacturers that Valve hopes will change the way we play games in the living room. Steam Machines will run Valve’s also-just-announced Steam OS, as well use as their new haptic game controller, which they revealed today.
So, yeah, it’s an announcement of an announcement, and the timing could just be a coincidence. Whether or not the Piston will be considered an official part of Valve’s Steam Machines lineup remains to be seen, as does whether it will utilise Valve’s operating system or controller. But hey, the Piston has been an object of mystery for so long that it’ll be nice to finally learn more about it. Come Tuesday, we’ll see.