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Steam Box "Piston" prototype in use by Call of Duty creators

by Mark Tyson on 5 March 2013, 11:50

Tags: Valve, PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabti5

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We first saw the link between Valve and Xi3 emerge at the CES 2013 in Las Vegas earlier this year. The pair showed the Xi3 "piston" mini-PC running Steam’s big picture mode and announced their partnership in an official press release. The small but beautifully formed Linux powered Xi3 “piston” computer was speculated to be Valve’s intended spearhead into the living room.

Last month we noted that Steam for Linux came out of beta and was officially launched with a big celebration games sale. The games sale revealed that a decent number of titles would be available to a Steam Box buyer but there was definitely room for improvement. The platform needs some more developer and publisher backing.

Infinity Ward

It would be a boost to the prospects of Steam Box success if developers like Infinity Ward, creators of the Call of Duty series, were to back the platform. Infinity Ward has just published pictures hinting heavily that it will be developing or porting some of its games titles to Steam for Linux.

Via its Twitter feed Infinity Ward published a photo of a “piston” bearing its company logo. The Twitter picture was accompanied by a teasing “What’s this?” On its Facebook timeline the game developer posted another picture of an Infinity Ward branded “piston”, this time with the comment “Game development”.

Positioned next to the “piston” in both photographs is an iPhone 4(S) to give viewers a good idea of the diminutive size of the Steam Box hardware. Even not very eagle-eyed readers will have noticed another little box in the picture upon which the “piston” is comfortably sitting. The Geek.com writer informs us that this is an accessory made by Xi3 called the “APPITUR3 and is described as a “search appliance” that offers additional storage of up to 1TB”.

With no other information forthcoming readers can come to their own conclusions about the partnership between Valve and Infinity Ward but there’s definitely something brewing here.

Will Valve be able to create an irresistible combination of hardware price and availability, software prices and availability, plus public awareness with which make an impact on the next generation of consoles in our living rooms? The "piston" should ship later this month according to the Xi3 CMO.

VenutreBeat’s CES interview with David Politis, chief marketing officer (CMO) at Xi3.

HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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I am interested to see how this progresses, but also with the consoles having a negative impact on PC game innovation, these machines appear to (I assume) have a lack of horsepower (potentially sitting slightly above the current 360 or PS3 in terms of grunt).

The advantages being, smaller, less power, better online connectivity and sufficient grunt to make a game look ‘good enough’ - rather than re-invent or innovate it's simply refining what we have today I guess.

I hope it allows for keyboard/mouse gaming combo's for FPS :)
This could also be the future of things to overclock and benchmark as PC's become less and less important.

Could PC Overclocking becoming a thing of the past?

There's simply no need for the masses to have such power available, it's more about connectivity between devices now….coupled with rising energy costs people just want the best productivity at the lowest possible cost of ownership.

PC games and products may well be ported from their low power rivals to enable multiplatform/multiplayer experiences - something which could dominate the gaming/apps industry in the next three years….again negating the need (by the masses) for overly powered CPU/GPU or APU combos.
maverik - yes it does :)
Maybe the Steam Box will use that cut-down PS4 APU from AMD?

It should be no slouch.
Really hoping this develops - would love to see as many games as possible ported to and developed for Linux.

Been using Linux almost exclusively for many months now and very rarely have a need or desire to boot into Windows. Only thing I've found missing is games - rarely play any at the moment but the more that appear in Linux the more I will play.

The launch of Steam for Linux was a massive boost and this sounds even better. Nothing against Windows but the more choice there is, the more boundaries broken then all the better for us as end users.