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Piston: Xi3 “asked to build a product specifically for Valve”

Wednesday, 13th March 2013 02:05 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Xi3, the company behind the $1,000 Piston Steam box, has shed some light on its relationship with Valve after the latter apparently attempted to distance itself from the product today.

Vlave’s Doug Lombardi said earlier today that Valve has “no involvement” with the Piston, which conflicted with earlier reports of an investment and the two companies’ recent cross-promotional efforts.

“We reaffirm the fact that we received an investment from Valve Corporation (as we previously disclosed during the 2013 International CES trade show), and we did so with Valve’s written permission,” Xi3 CEO Jason A. Sullivan said in a statement published on Kotaku.

“Second, we were asked to build a product specifically for Valve, and both companies showcased this product – the Piston Console -in their respective booths at CES 2013.”

Sullivan said he met with Valve boss Gabe Newell at CES, and was asked not to disclose any additional information about their “relationship”, but that Xi3 needs to sort out a few things.

The executive said Piston is not the “official” SteamBox, but also noted that “just because Valve may not ‘currently’ have any ‘involvement with any product of [Xi3]‘s doesn’t mean that such involvement won’t exist in the future”.

This mysterious statement aside, Sullivan said Piston will be able to access Steam regardless of any relationship with Valve, as well as many other gaming an entertainment platforms. “Which is more than what Valve apparently has planned for its official SteamBox,” he added.

Piston, he explained, is a modular computer, “that can run any operating system or application designed to run on an x86-based 64-bit computer”.

“To be clear, the Piston Console will ship initially with a Windows operating system specifically because that’s where the vast bulk of game software and computer gamers are today. That said, the Piston Console can also run Linux (and other operating systems), which means it can support the Linux-version of Steam.

“Contrary to Valve’s vision, Xi3 believes that the way to take this to market today is to do so with a Windows OS at the core, coupled with the ability to not just get to one platform/store for games, but to get access to all game stores/platforms. Studios should have the option to go through Steam if they choose or to go direct to the end-user if they so choose. That will be the difference between Piston and other Steam boxes. You’ll be able to access Steam if you choose, but you’ll also be able to access other platforms as well-all through the Piston Console.”

Despite the hefty price tag of $1,000, Xi3 has been “amazed” at the amount of pre-orders it has received, and Sullivan said the company may not be able to meet demand at launch during the 2013 holiday period.

“In closing, what Valve does or doesn’t do with its SteamBox will be up to them. So Gabe, it’s up to you. The ball is in your court,” he concluded.

The Piston is the first of several expected Steam boxes, with Valve indicating its support for an open market of competing devices. As mentioned above, there will, however, be an official SteamBox, made by Valve itself.

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13 Comments

  1. MegaGeek1

    Lmao, what a disaster.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. TheWulf

    I see a lot of doublespeak there, and it makes me suspicious. The keen eye will note that what Valve said wasn’t actually contradictory to this. Valve stated that they did a lot of exploratory work with Xi3.

    That could mean that, yes, they invested. That could also mean that Valve asked Xi3 to create an experimental prototype product for them. Where the line is divided is whether Valve gave their blessing for the product to go live and on sale. Valve said that they have nothing to do with the product on sale – and that could be a true statement.

    In fact, this might even come down to a miscommunication. Which certainly isn’t an unheard of notion in big business, especially with the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing in businesses which are big enough. So there might have been a lack of understanding of how far Valve wanted to go with this.

    There’s no need to assume nefariousness without more information.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. xxJPRACERxx

    Valve don’t want any MS products in their box.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    The biggest irritation about this for me is that he keeps referring to the machine, which he describes as modular, upgradeable, and running Windows 8 (or any OS you desire) as the Piston Xi3 CONSOLE.

    It’s a PC.

    Each time he calls it a console, he’s sewing the kind of disinformation that causes so many arguments of forums and so many fools to believe whatever they’re shovelled. Valve should employ somebody to punch him in the face every time he uses the word, or in some other way fails to call it what it is.

    Further, most of the people who post here, including myself, could build a far better PC than this for $1000.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. roadkill

    @4 He calls it a console because that’s what people buy. The price is irrelevant. I mean look how much money console users pay for their games. These people are rich! A 1000 dollar machine is nothing for their pockets.

    edit: Plus, it should have at least a decent performance. Any half-intelligent console user wants to have a PC but he/she is too stupid to build one. This is their chance.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. DSB

    A PC is also a console, even if it is generally used in a different context.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. ps3fanboy

    what a train wreak two companies selling the steambox… at 1000 dollars and linux not really the focus. now we understand that microsoft never looked at valve as competitor. if gabe could get his head out of his ass and get a real deal going. then be the only one with the steambox, and focus on linux with a price tag at 300-400 dollars. he could have had a winner and a chance at the spot for the third place. among the gaming systems after nintendo dies of and put pc gaming in the equation of next generation.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. roadkill

    “what a train wreak two companies selling the steambox… at 1000 dollars and linux not really the focus. now we understand that microsoft never looked at valve as competitor. if gabe could get his head out of his ass and get a real deal going. then be the only one with the steambox, and focus on linux with a price tag at 300-400 dollars. he could have had a winner and a chance at the spot for the third place. among the gaming systems after nintendo dies of and put pc gaming in the equation of next generation.” Limited edition intellect! loki level of fun! Thanks! :)

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Virginityrocks

    On a related note, I’m tired of the PS4 and Xbox 720 calling themselves consoles. They’re PCs! Just closed-off with fixed hardware and a dumbed-down GUI.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. nollie4545

    A small form factor package with simplified OS and standard components and GUI – strikes me as being a console TBH.

    400-500 bucks and it would really put the cat in the pigeons.

    A gaming device with no MS input= paradise.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. TheBlackHole

    The irony is that this ‘Steambox’ will actually play ALL of your Steam games, whereas Valve’s will only play those that have been converted to Linux.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. nollie4545

    Until they update Linux…

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Joe_Gamer

    I’m sure this is far more expensive than what valve wanted from their Steambox(which is why they are backing away so quickly) but it’s not a terrible product…Okay, to me it’s pretty terrible but I don’t care about SPACE. A monkey with two left hands could build a better system for less but there’s no way it would be that small or that efficient. Some people care about shit like that. Unfortunately I’m betting that what Valve cares about is price and market share, not quirky little PC’s that you can fit in a purse.

    #13 2 years ago

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