When the Xi3 Piston modular PC / game console ships this November, it'll ship like most PCs do: without a gamepad. Sadly, the in-house controller from Piston will be sold separately for a separate, undisclosed price. "There will be a future announcement about our plans for controllers," was the most that chief marketing officer David Politis would share during a brief interview this morning. We managed to snap the pic you see above before the controller was whisked away; Politis and co. refused any closer snaps, not to mention a opportunity to go hands-on.
The PC-cum-game-console will launch with "some version" of Windows (the console we saw here was running Windows 7), rather than SteamOS. The only look we've had at Xi3's GUI was brief, during SXSW's gaming expo. And Politis called that brief glimpse "presentation-ware." He said we'll see it running "before we officially ship" in video form at the very least, and it'll run as a Windows-based program on the shipping box. He did speak to how it will work, though. "It'll be customizable ... when [the Piston] is ready to run, you'll be in our GUI. You won't be in an OS per se," Politis told Engadget. "It's connected to the net, so you should be able to access any type of content you already have ownership of or licensing rights to from inside of the GUI. And you're gonna be able to do that. You can start thinking through, 'What do I already own or have license rights to that I can access through the internet?' These are ticking off the different types of things that you and your readers own or have access to." When we specifically noted Amazon, Netflix and Hulu, as well as gaming services like Steam and UPlay, Politis confirmed our (obvious) guesses.
Update: Xi3 told us that the custom GUI will ship with the console in November. Please excuse the confusion!