Well we knew it wouldn’t be long before we saw the Steam-backed PC show up in some form or another, but it turns out Valve and hardware maker Xi3 just couldn’t wait any longer to show off Piston.
Piston is the current name for the Steam-centric, living room focused computer that’s being shown off right now at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. The hybrid PC/console is, squared off, reportedly about the size of a grapefruit, and sports a pretty nice feature set.
The would-be Steam Box is outfitted with five USB ports (a mix of 3.0 and 2.0), 2 mini display ports, one HDMI port, 8gigs of DDR3 RAM, and a (3.2ghz) x86 based quad-core processor- among other things. Chief among those “other things” being the official backing of Valve and it’s Steam download service.
According to gaming site Polygon, Xi3 had originally shopped the little PC on kickstarter as a modular system, but didn’t make it to their funding goal. I don’t remember the campaign myself, but apparently Valve took note of it as Piston will be one of the first of the Steam Boxes to hit retail.
As far as the all important ‘price point’ goes, there isn’t one yet. Xi3 offers a pair of models similar (…looking anyway) PC’s now under the ‘X7A’ and ‘X5A’ banners. The 7 model runs $999, with the 5 coming in at just under five hundred at $499 USD.
Pricing at that level would all but eliminate the market that I assume Valve is looking to capture though, and I have to imagine that Xi3 will be pricing the Piston at least a little lower than the X5A.