Some seem to think that the Xi3 Piston is actually a pet project that Valve is heavily involved in, with some even thinking that it’s the studio’s rumored “Steam Box.” As it turns out, Valve has come clean about the whole Valve-Piston thing, and has admitted that it currently has no involvement in the Xi3 modular PC “game console.”
“Valve began some exploratory work with Xi3 last year, but currently has no involvement in any of theirs,” said Dough Lombardi, Valve’s head of marketing.
Now that Valve has distanced itself from Xi3, it’s time to figure out what the heck a Steam Box is. Purportedly, there will be multiple Steam Boxes, and one of which will be offered to consumers directly from Valve. Furthermore, Gabe Newell has also said that Valve will be offering its Steam Box at a competitive price. So if Xi3’s $1000 Piston rig is competitive, we all might as well make our own Steam Box.
So in essence, what we do know at the moment is that Valve will have its own Steam Box, while other manufacturers will probably pitch in and make different variations of a box that is optimized for Big Picture Mode. Xi3’s Piston will come with a 3.2GHz AMD Trinity quad-core, a Radeon 7000-series GPU, 8GB of RAM, a SDD drive, and, as aforementioned, a price tag of approximately $1,000. Therefore, other Steam Boxes may also have similar specs, but hopefully for a lot less.
Perhaps a “Steam Box” is just some sort of certification of approval from Valve. Let’s see what type of “competitive” pricings Valve can give these PC game boxes, and whether or not the hardware is worth an investment. Newell said that Valve plans to seed out prototypes this year for feedback, so we’ll probably get more details then.