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Preorders start for $1,000 Piston console

The gaming machine, a Steam Box built around Valve's digital game distribution platform, can now be preordered from manufacturer Xi3.


You can now preorder the first Steam Box, a PC-based gaming console built around Valve's digital game distribution platform. Prices start at $1,000, though there's a $100 discount if you order now.

Manufacturer Xi3 announced the Piston earlier this year at CES. The "grapefruit-size" Piston uses Steam's Big Picture feature to bring console-style PC games to TV screens.

Xi3 is a modular PC vendor that has received funding from Valve, and its Piston console is among a handful of such console-style PCs expected to arrive in 2013. The Piston console is slated to ship in the holiday season at the end of 2013, which also happens to be the estimated launch period for Sony's next-generation PlayStation 4.

Valve's head honcho, Gabe Newell, said in an interview earlier this month that Valve's Steam Box should be ready for testing "in the next three to four months."

According to a report by Siliconera, the Piston console retains its PC roots by offering users future hardware upgrade options. At the moment, those placing preorders can only select the size of the SSD, but the Piston is designed to enable the swapping of the RAM, motherboard, and even the AMD APU (accelerated processing unit) that's powering the device.

However, such upgrades may not come cheap. As it is, switching to a 512GB SSD from the base 128GB version on the preorder page now adds $750 to the price. This seems pretty excessive as one can easily purchase a similar SSD for less than $500.

The report also quoted Xi3's Chief Marketing Officer David Politis, who said Piston "will ship standard with Windows," though users are able to install other operating systems on the device, like any PC.

Although Valve has been pushing Linux to developers with its Steam-for-Linux client, the majority of games are still on the Windows platform -- there were just 81 Linux games available on Steam when we last checked.

For any PC consoles to be successful, they probably have to support Windows, at least in the beginning. With upcoming consoles from Microsoft and Sony likely to sport PC hardware, it's difficult to imagine big-name game developers straying from the Windows platform anytime soon.

(Source: Crave Asia)