Valve Software has been hinting for a long time that it would like to connect a piece of hardware directly to its Steam software service. The piece of hardware has been lovingly dubbed the “Steam Box” but has been vaporware since rumors began to circulate.
News has come out of the Consumer Electronics Show that Valve is now working with Xi3, a small hardware firm in Utah, to “development stage computer game system optimized for Steam gameplay in Big Picture Mode.” The development box is called Piston and sports a quad-core processor, up to 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, up to a terabyte of solid state storage and support for three monitors.
Think of it as a high powered PC that you can hold in your hand, plug in to the Steam download service, play games anywhere, and go head to head with console makes who are beginning to squeeze out PC gaming due to a stable hardware platform and lower development costs.
Valve was founded by former Microsoft employee Gabe Newell and is the developer of the popular Half-life and Portal game series. Valve also developed and runs the Steam download service which controls approximately 60% of the distribution of video games through its digital download service.
Stay tuned for more news on this down the road, it could get very interesting.