Here’s What Happened With Valve And Xi3 And The Piston


Back when the Xi3 Corporation revealed their Steam-optimized “Piston” modular PC/console hybrid, they also revealed that they had received an investment from Valve Corporation, the company that owns and runs the Steam service.


Then, Valve’s Doug Lombardi recently stated to Eurogamer: “Valve began some exploratory work with Xi3 last year, but currently has no involvement in any product of theirs.”


Today, Xi3 Corporation released an official statement of their own, which sheds further light on the former and current relationship between the two companies.


“We reaffirm the fact that we received an investment from Valve Corporation (as we previously disclosed during the 2013 International CES trade show), and we did so with Valve’s written permission,” Xi3 founder and CEO, Jason A. Sullivan, said in a written statement today.


“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.”


Sullivan continued: “Then, during a meeting with Valve at CES, [Valve founder] Gabe Newell personally asked me that we not disclose additional information about our relationship with Valve. We have honored that request and will continue to do so.”


Sullivan goes on to mention that there’s been some confusion as to whether the Piston is the official “Steambox” or not. As previously reported, it isn’t, and Valve are currently preparing their own version of a Steambox-type device that will run on Linux, as opposed to the Piston, which will use Windows.


“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,” Sullivan explains.


“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. You’ll be able to access Steam if you choose, but you’ll also be able to access other platforms as well—all through the Piston Console.”


Finally, Sullivan mentions that Xi3 are “amazed” at the interest and amount of pre-orders the company has received for the Piston so far. “This just reaffirms to us our decision to open pre-orders, because we are seriously concerned we will not be able to meet the demand for Piston Consoles for the 2013 Holiday Season,” he says. “"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.”


Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.