The Piston Steam Box will start at US$1000

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CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

Xi3 is taking pre-orders for the Piston PC, its so-called Steam Box, for shipping by "holidays 2013".

The Xi3 Piston.
(Credit: Xi3)

Xi3 first showed off the Piston back at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year. It was touted as being specifically designed for the Big Picture variant of Steam, and Valve was said to have made some investment in Xi3.

Since then, the concept of a Steam Box has expanded, with Gabe Newell recently saying that prototypes of the console-style PC would be available in three to four months, and Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward showing off a mysterious PC, which used the Xi3 form factor, via its Twitter and Facebook.

Xi3 has now used the South by South West (SXSW) Festival to announce that it will be taking pre-orders for the Piston, although the device itself won't actually ship until "holidays 2013" — that is, until the end of the year.

The pre-order page allows you to "design your own Piston", although this seems limited to just choosing the size of the SSD. Currently, a Piston starts at US$999 for the default model (128GB SSD), up to US$1749 for the 512GB version. Until 17 March, there's a US$100 discount on pre-orders.

The pre-order process has begun so early because Xi3 is, according to founder and CEO Jason A Sullivan, "seriously concerned that [it] will not be able to meet the demand for Piston consoles", given the "amount of awards, media attention and gamer interest" the device has gathered since CES.

Curiously, the press release about the Piston makes no mention of Valve or Steam, instead stating that the Piston will "deliver the beauty and small size of consoles, with the upgradeability of computers".

It's unclear if this means that the partnership between Valve and Xi3 has shifted in focus, or that Valve is concentrating on its own work on the Steam Box prototype.

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SeanD1 posted a comment   

This is not the Steam Box so change the damn title to the article !


ADSLNerd posted a comment   

If it pushes / supports DRM, I don't want. I will not accept any draconian protection measure for data I purchase. No thanks.


JamesO posted a comment   
United States

Well I was interested till I saw the price tag.

My custom rig is over 4 years old and ran me up 2k back then, and is probably still better then this.

Not to mention Steam has no reassurance with it


LeoH posted a comment   

Saw this at the SXSW gaming expo, was amazed by the mini form factor and specifications.


ChuckR1 posted a comment   

Um yeh..No thanks...

$1,000..and is to compete with consoles that cost half the price that will have more games to boot?
Then add in the fact my current PC can play anything steam/valve has with ease..maybe even run a few multiple instances of multiple Valve/Steam games and maintain good framerates? and cost less than $1.000? Definetly will pass on this.

FYI.. the "Steam-box" is to be Linux based..Steam wants nothing to do with Windows 8.


MattH1 posted a reply   

I want nothing to do with Windows 8


PaulL6 posted a comment   

This thing is way over prices. I can build a better PC for less than half the price. Steam currently runs on my gaming PC and any future gaming PC I build so there is no need for this box. I am also purchasing a PS4 the day its released. Good luck selling this thing.


SantiagoA posted a comment   

So, a product that doesn't and hasn't mentioned Valve or Steam at all during developement and show-off, is extremely expensive to compete with both HTPCs and game consoles and is way ahead of schedule and contradicting when you compare it with Gabe Newell's words (prototypes in 3 to 4 months, several different devices, etc).

Why are you insisting on calling this thing the "Steam Box" again?

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