xi3 piston CES 2013: Valve teams up with Xi3 for gaming console

Game developer Valve has teamed up with Xi3 Corporation to develop a tiny computer system optimised to run Steam, giving us a first inkling into Valve's long-awaited hardware plans.

Game developer Valve has teamed up with Xi3 Corporation to develop a tiny computer system optimised to run Steam, giving us a first inkling into Valve's long-awaited hardware plans.

 
The grapefruit-sized Piston modular computer chassis has been created by Xi3, with investment from Valve, and the two companies are showcasing the design at both of their booths at CES 2013 in Las Vegas this week.
 
The companies are remaining tight-lipped about how close their partnership is and what exactly is under the hood of the modular computer, but what we do know is that it is designed for what Xi3 is calling Big Picture mode, which is aimed at LAN gaming parties using high-definition displays, and this mode will support Valve's Steam game distribution service.
 
xi3 piston CES 2013: Valve teams up with Xi3 for gaming console
 
While the system is not technically a Valve product, affectionately called the Steam Box, it is being supported heavily by the developer, and marks the closest thing to a gaming console from the company, after rumours last year that it planned to enter the console market.
 
The biggest drawback to a deal with Xi3, however, is the price. Similar miniature gaming rigs designed by Xi3 cost around $1,000, and while they will likely pack a lot under the hood and plenty of connectivity options, this is a price point that just won't compete with the current console leaders.
 
Image Credit: Digital Trends