Written by Brett Reistroffer
For a couple of years now, we’ve been hearing whispers around the gaming industry that Valve has been working on a console/PC hybrid which the rumor mills have aptly dubbed ‘The Steam Box’. Always one for the nonchalant, company head Gabe Newell has persistently responded to questions regarding the supposedly ongoing project with little more than “We’re working on stuff”. Recently at this year’s CES however, Xi3, a modular PC company revealed some details about a new partnership between themselves and the widely popular game developer.
Named the ‘Piston’ appropriately enough, the machine which is hardly bigger than a fist will sport features similar or even above the companies current 7 series, which includes quad-core processors that run up to 3.2 GHz, AMD’s 383 core Radeon HD 7660G integrated graphics, and up to 8 GB of DDR3 RAM. While specifics about ‘Piston’ itself are being kept back for now, the specs for the current 7 series already make for a reasonable gaming platform as it is.
With Valve’s recent push into the living room with their newly implemented ‘Big Picture’ mode in Steam (the company’s digital gaming delivery platform), it seemed as though the developer might be forsaking a dedicated console for keeping everything contained in the home computer. However, with the portability of Xi3’s modular computers, the ease and availability of wireless HDMI, and the growing ability to use traditional game controllers for PC and Mac gaming, it is easy to see the house Gordon built finally becoming a mainstream presence in the living room gaming market.