Steam gets first console, the Xi3 Piston, but only in the US

The Xi3 Piston is the first games console for streaming service Steam to go on sale, although not to UK gamers just yet.

Time to get steamed about Steam and pumped about the Piston. The Xi3 Piston is the first games console for streaming service Steam to go on sale, although not to UK gamers just yet.

The Piston packs a 3.2GHz quad-core R464 processor with 8GB of RAM, and a choice of solid state drives. It hooks up to your telly to play games using Steam's Big Picture mode.

Steam is an online gaming service that beams the game to your computer from the Internet, rather than making you buy a copy of the game and storing it on your computer or console.

The company behind Steam is Valve, which recently revealed plans for prototype consoles that will be available " within the next three or four months ."

Valve helped pay to develop the Piston, which is available to order now from Xi3 -- if you live in the US. It costs $900 (£600) for the 128GB SSD, $1240 (£833) with a 256GB SSD and $1650 (£1,110) for 512GB of storage.

Meanwhile, Kickstarter-funded Android-powered console Ouya will begin delivery this month -- without multiplayer. Ouya says it plans to add online multiplayer gaming by the end of the year.

The potential limitations of online gaming were revealed this past week with the disastrous launch of SimCity. Gamers were left frustrated as they were unable to play online or activate their game due to overcrowding on EA's server's. EA has apologised and promised a free game . For more on these and all the gaming news, reviews and videos you'll ever need, head for GameSpot.

Is Steam the future? Can these upstart games consoles challenge the big three of Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Wii? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.


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