Xi3 and Valve face-off over Steam Box

Xi3 and Valve face-off over Steam Box

By Ben Parfitt

March 13th 2013 at 2:40PM

Piston maker and Valve disagree over their involvement with the microcomputer

Valve seems to have ruffled some feathers with its recent assertion that it is not connected in any way with Xi3’s Piston Steam Box.

A statement from Valve yesterday claimed that the company “began some exploratory work with Xi3 last year, but currently has no involvement in any product of theirs".

However, a strongly-worded response from Xi3 has reiterated Valve’s commitment to the project.

"We reaffirm the fact that we received an investment from Valve Corporation and we did so with Valve's written permission," Xi3 founder, president and CEO Jason Sullivan stated.

"Second, we were asked to build a product specifically for Valve, and both companies showcased this product – the Piston Console – in their respective booths at CES 2013. Then, during a meeting with Valve at CES, Gabe Newell personally asked me that we not disclose additional information about our relationship with Valve. We have honoured that request and will continue to do so.

“But just because Valve may not ‘currently' have any ‘involvement with any product of (ours)' doesn't mean that such involvement won't exist in the future.”

Sullivan didn’t stop there, however, and went on to outline why he thinks Piston will be a superior product to whatever Valve eventually reveals to be the official Steam Box.

"It's also important to note that the Piston Console will allow gamers to access Steam regardless of what our relationship is or isn't with Valve,” he added. “Additionally, Piston will also support a raft of other internet-based gaming and entertainment platforms, which is more than what Valve apparently has planned for its official Steam Box.

“In this way, the Piston Console could be perceived as something more than just a Steam Box, which makes sense because at its core the Piston Console is a Modular Computer that can run any operating system or application designed to run on an x86-based 64-bit computer.

"To be clear, the Piston Console will ship initially with a Windows operating system specifically because that's where the vast bulk of game software and computer gamers are today. That said, the Piston Console can also run Linux (and other operating systems), which means it can support the Linux-version of Steam.

"Contrary to Valve's vision, Xi3 believes that the way to take this to market today is to do so with a Windows OS at the core, coupled with the ability to not just get to one platform/store for games, but to get access to all game stores/platforms. Studios should have the option to go through Steam if they choose or to go direct to the end-user if they so choose. That will be the difference between Piston and other Steam Boxes.

"In closing, what Valve does or doesn't do with its Steam Box will be up to them. So Gabe, it's up to you. The ball is in your court."

This story was originally published on our sister site MCV