Xi3 says Piston is 'something more' than Steam Box

Piston creator Xi3 issued a stark response this morning to Valve publicly distancing itself from the company. In a press release, Xi3 founder, president, and CEO Jason A. Sullivan reaffirmed the investment Xi3 received to build a device "specifically for Valve" earlier this year, before launching into an aggressive counter, stating Xi3's Piston is perceivably "something more" than Valve's Steam Box. The Xi3, "contrary to Valve's vision" according to Sullivan, won't be limited to supporting particular platforms and game stores.

"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," Suillvan wrote in today's statement. "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 noted Valve boss Gabe Newell "personally asked" him to not disclose further information on Xi3's relationship with Valve. While, according to Sullivan, Xi3 continues to honor that arrangement, Newell's statement clearly caused (or added to) friction between the two companies, with Sullivan going on to state arguments for why the Xi3 is a stronger proposition than the 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," Sullivan continued. "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 underline this, Sullivan pointed out the Piston will ship with a Windows operating system, but will, using his example, also support a Linux version of Steam.

"Contrary to Valve's vision," Sullivan concluded, "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."

Despite this morning's provocative statement, Sullivan noted "just because Valve may not 'currently have any involvement with any product of (ours),' [that] doesn't mean that such involvement won't exist in the future." However, we can only imagine how Newell will look upon a statement which resoundingly closes by saying "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."

Show full PR text
SALT LAKE CITY, March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Xi3 Corporation today released the following statement about its Xi3® PISTON™ Console and its relationship with Valve Corporation:
"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," said Jason A. Sullivan , founder, president and CEO of Xi3 Corporation. "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 honored that request and will continue to do so. That said, there are other items we need to cover.
"For example, the assumption of many in the media has been that PISTON is the 'official' Steam Box. We've never said that and neither has Valve. That hasn't changed. 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.
"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. 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. 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.
"We have opened PISTON Console pre-orders and have been amazed at the interest and amount of pre-orders we have received thus 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.
"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."
About Xi3 Corporation
Formed in 2010 and headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Xi3 Corporation utilizes "The Power of X" to bring its building block approach to the world of computing, an approach Xi3 applies internally and externally to hardware solutions and software applications. For more information about Xi3 Corporation, please visit www.Xi3.com.
The shape of the three-sided single piece casing, the end plate, and the overall shape of the Xi3 Modular Computer, as well as Xi3, PISTON, Modular, Xi3 Modular, "The Power of X" and ISYS Technologies are trademarks and unique trade dress of ISYS Technologies, Inc.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.