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Piston Xi3 "Steam Box" on sale for $1000 and up

Piston Xi3 "Steam Box" on sale for $1000 and up

Mon 11 Mar 2013 10:18am GMT / 6:18am EDT / 3:18am PDT
Hardware

Third-party console challenger to sell for a high price

The Valve-backed Xi3 Piston console will retail for $1000 and up, with a likely release date of this Christmas.

The Xi3 Piston was unveiled at CES earlier this year as the first "Steam Box" hardware from a third-party - ostensibly a PC running Linux, but one designed to run Valve's Steam Big Picture Mode on a television for a seamless, console-like experience.

Valve is working on its own Steam Box, though that hardware is still a several months away from user-testing.

When the Piston hardware was unveiled at CES, Digital Foundry expressed doubts over its ability to find a place in the market: "It represents the 'consolification' of a platform which is traditionally associated with massive performance gains over the dedicated games machines, but is looking decidedly sub-par compared to the hardware that is to come. Instead unique appeal lies into its ultra-tiny form factor."

To read Rob Fahey's recent editorial about the Steam Box concept, follow the link.

17 Comments

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,180 967 0.8
Pretty much confirms this won't be the mass market 'Steam Box' some thought it was when they announced the Valve partnership, but it was a flawed perceptation in any case.

Interesting little device, joining a new wave of ultra-small PCs, but far too expensive for the every day gamer and probably too underpowered for the high end PC enthusiast. I'm sure it will find a niche in the market but even then could be easily threatened by cheaper alternatives.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 11th March 2013 10:39am

Posted:A year ago

#1

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

527 786 1.5
I don't see the point in making it so small it fits in the hand. Small enough to fit on the shelf under your TV, yes, but it's not a mobile device so why make it that small?

Posted:A year ago

#2

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,577 1,432 0.9
As far as I'm aware, this is either the high-end box, or an entirely unofficial box. As per this interview

http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/8/3852692/valve-linux-steam-box-local-gaming-server
Newell also tipped Valve's hand on target pricing for Steam Boxes built by partners, saying that the company sees three tiers of hardware specifications: "Good, Better," and "Best." He says the goal for a "Good" platform is a free device, but that one would probably start around $99 and eventually come down. Newell says a midrange device should cost around $300, and that the top-tier is only limited by how much someone is willing to spend.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 11th March 2013 10:57am

Posted:A year ago

#3

Andrew Animator

148 158 1.1

Posted:A year ago

#4

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,180 967 0.8
@Morville

Though I'm not sure how final this all is, don't articles around the web suggest prices start at this level for the Piston and go up rather than go down?

It is true however that there wouldn't be much stopping them from using the same form factor with smaller storage and cheaper processing chips if it made sense for them and if they would be ok with the performance downgrade.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 11th March 2013 11:19am

Posted:A year ago

#5

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,577 1,432 0.9
Mmmm, yeah, you're right about prices. But then, we've been led to believe that there's going to be more than one company producing Steam Boxes, so perhaps the Pistons are the Steam Box equivalents of something like Alienware - specialising towards a subset of the market, rather than trying to cater to everyone.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.

235 164 0.7
A PC for Apple prices. Hmmm. Bit-Tech's "Affordable All-Rounder"

Posted:A year ago

#7

David Amor CEO, Picnic Games

25 22 0.9
Popular Comment
This seems like a PR story gone awry. Xi3's Kickstarter campaign got to $90K of its $250K. Valve stepped in afterwards and helped them meet their target, probably as an experiment to gain some expertise is small form-factor PCs. Xi3 go on to describe this as a "partnership to create a Steam Box" and the industry turns its head.
The only thing that Steam itself have said about this particular device is that it's one of many prototypes. I doubt the hardware that Valve's working on bears much resemblance in either form-factor, price or spec. As Morville mentions, this box seems unofficial at best. Xi3 seem to have dropped all mention of Valve and Steam from their website.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,180 967 0.8
By helping fund Xi3 on this project it does lead me to wonder if Valve gain access to a number of interesting patents related to the modular design.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Craig Page Programmer

384 220 0.6
You can't charge $1000 for such mediocre hardware unless your case has an apple logo on it...

Posted:A year ago

#10

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
Hmmmm. Well, the 3DO ended up being manufactured by a few different companies at a few price points as well. I'm just sayin'...

Posted:A year ago

#11

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
$1000... in this economy*? Who's going to buy this and not two of the next gen consoles?



*Even though I hate it when the constantly regurgitated "this economy" line gets trotted out, I'm giving myself a pass here ;)

Posted:A year ago

#12

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,180 967 0.8
As Morville mentions, this box seems unofficial at best. Xi3 seem to have dropped all mention of Valve and Steam from their website.
www.digitalspy.co.uk/gaming/news/a464991/valve-no-longer-involved-with-xi3-piston-steam-box.html

Posted:A year ago

#13

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

461 168 0.4
The box HAS to be unofficial. If it wasn't it would have some kind of Steam/Valve insignia on it at the very least. The only reason I would ever get into using something like this is if they released the ISO so I could take a test drive of the OS on the PC and see if it runs faster than Windows. If not, then a HTPC running windows and hooked up to a Xbox 360 pad (with IM keyboard when needed) and a wireless trackpad is all I'll need.



Either way, the good thing I see from this is the introduction of much more Multiplayer (locally, like split screen) games coming out for PC. In the early 00s there were like 4 a year max, and two of them would be the latest PES and FIFA.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

461 168 0.4
Hate to doublepost, but I did some research on ISYS, who wholly own Xi3. ISYS is a US defense contractor, mainly for Lockheed Martin. I'm sure 250k is small change to them, but the whole OUYA idea made me think that Kickstarter was mainly composed of start-ups and small companies with big dreams. The $250k KS WAS a social experiment, no doubt.

ISYS could have financed this product with it's pocket change. I think Valve may have blundered by financing part of it because the only explanation as to why an actual kickstarter for this project was being done in the first place was to test the waters back at ISYS and see if there was a market for it. Valve having to put their notes in the cookie jar would have effectively disproved that theory (because if there was enough people that supported the concept then Valve wouldn't have had to), but did so in a way that still obligated ISYS to make the product, at the very least for the Kickstarter guys.

I await Xi3's next move.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,180 967 0.8
That's fascinating Andrew. Can quite easily say I had no idea about that...

Posted:A year ago

#16

Tin Katavic Studying MSc-Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee

44 3 0.1
Ok, small (nice design), expensive, faaaar from cutting edge gaming and cant be upgraded. Its a mac mini. :D (well at least a mini has a optical drive)
It looks great and all but I cant help but have great doubts about what this thing can run. An X51 from Alienware costs about $1000 (the "top" model) and isnt "cutting edge" like a big gaming rig.
Cant think who would buy this for gaming.

Posted:A year ago

#17

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