Skip to comments.Valve Software: Xi3 Piston Is Just One Game System, More Incoming.
Posted on 01/11/2013 12:44:25 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Valve Software, a major video game developer and the owner of Steam game distribution service, said that Xi3 Corp.s Piston video game system, which is currently in development, will be only one of such Steam Box devices. More Steam-centered game systems are incoming from other makers; moreover, Valve will offer its own-brand gaming devices going forward.
We will come out with our own and we will sell it to consumers by ourselves. That will be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. We are not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination. We also think that a controller that has higher precision and lower latency is another interesting thing to have, said Gabe Newell, a co-founder and chief executive officer of Valve, in an interview with The Verge web-site.
On Tuesday Xi3 Corp. announced a development stage system optimized for computer gameplay on large high-definition television monitors. Xi3's Piston is designed specifically to support both Steam and its Big Picture mode for residential and LAN party computer gaming on larger high-def screens. While the details about Xi3 Piston are scarce, it is widely believed that the device is a small form-factor fully-fledged personal computer powered by AMDs A-series Fusion Trinity or Richland accelerated processing unit and can be equipped with up to 1TB hard disk drive. Since the unit is a pre-production one, eventually it may gain A-series Kaveri APU with more advanced AMD Radeon HD 7000-series graphics core and up to four AMD Steamroller x86 cores.
Valve did not disclose any details about its own Steam Box game device.
While Valve has made an investment into Xi3 and the two companies are jointly showcasing Piston at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, Valve stresses that Xi3 Piston will not be the only Steam Box available on the market. At least three types of Steam-centered gaming devices will be available: some will just stream video games from PCs (e.g., Nvidia Shield) or even servers, other will be tightly-controlled by Valve and will render games locally, the third breed will offer something more than just Steam games.
The way we sort of think of it is sort of Good, Better, or Best. Good are like these very low-cost streaming solutions that you are going to see that are using Miracast or Grid. [ ] Better [will] have a dedicated CPU and GPU and that is the one that is going to be controlled. [ ] It has been surprisingly difficult when we say to people dont put an optical media drive in there and they put an optical media drive in there and you are like that makes it hotter, that makes it more expensive, and it makes the box bigger. Go ahead. You can always sell the Best box, and those are just whatever those guys want to manufacture, explained Mr. Newell.
Even though good, better, best approach has its advantages, it is obvious that Valves and its hardware partners interests are pretty different. Valve is interested in a stable platform, which will likely be similar to Xi3s Piston and will be tightly controlled (to what extent?) by the platform designer. Essentially, the firmly-controlled design will quickly become a commodity and there will be few opportunities for hardware makers to differentiate. As a result, many of Valves partners will focus on best-type Steam Boxes, which will quickly evolve into small form-factor video game PCs.
While initially Valve Software plans to address personal computer gaming with its Steam Boxes running Linux or Windows operating systems, the company is also working on mobile gaming devices.
This [Steam Box] is called Bigfoot internally, and we also have Littlefoot. [
] Our approach [to Littlefoot] will be pretty similar. We also think there is a lot that needs to be done in the tablet and mobile space to improve input for games. I understand Apple's [approach]; all the way back in '83 when I met Jobs for the first time, he was so super anti-gaming. In one of the designs that we are building on the controller side, it has this touchpad and we are trying to figure out where that is useful. We do not want to waste peoples money by just throwing in a touchpad. Once we understand what the role is of multi-touch in these kind of applications then it is easy to say you can use your phone for it, said the head of Valve.
An Xbox? Its personal no doubt. Its a computer, again, no problem.
Its not yours though. It will only ever compute what someone other than you (in this case, Microsoft) has allowed it to compute. Just like an iPad.
Admittedly, if you dont care, that might seem a pointless distinction, but to those of us who use computers as tools in this way, it makes all the difference in the world. The ability to type in a unique program and then just run the damn thing, in the full knowledge that it will do whatever you tell it to, really is quite amazing.
The nice thing about Steam is that if you have a catastrophic crash and have to get a new hard drive or PC, ALL of your games can be re-downloaded for free, with the latest patches and DLC, and all of your personal settings are restored to your new unit.
So we have “Gaming via the Cloud”?
I have the Linux Steam Beta... but only 1 choice for Free to Play so far, and I’m not interested in “Portal 2” ... :p
I am hoping that this does ‘pick up steam’, pun intended ;)
(BTW, I have been able to get World of Warcraft to work almost flawlessly.. the only setback is the water.. have to set it on fair or lower to be able to see it (lack of Shader 3 tech)). After ‘fixing’ the wow.exe, it is fully utilizing all 6 cores (AMD) and 16 gig of ram, plus my 2 gig of vid ram)... getting a nice FPS of 100 ;)
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It just saves all gaming data so you won’t have to re-buy what you lost.
I have so many Steam games that after I built this massive gaming PC, it took about three days to re-acquire all of my games back from Steam. But I did get them all back for free.
Also, no CDs to get all scratched up.
You also are limited to (I think -unless they’ve changed it) using two PCs for the same account. Security reasons.
Their new SSD contains the designation of mSATAmax and, considering that it will be available in capacities up to 1TB and have performance of 1TB/s read and write, this just may be the most powerful SSD we see in such a small computer package.
The Xi3 mSATAmax SSD product sheet lists it as having a 12Gb/s transfer rate, however, we believe its 1TB/s transfer speeds are achieved much as we recently saw with the Acer S7 Ultrabook where 2 x SATA 3 SSDs are present on one PCB and RAIDED to reach the listed perfomance.
Specifications list 1TB/s read and write with up to 160,000 IOPS at low 4k random aligned write disk access. Capacities range from 120GB to 1TB 128-bit AES compliant data encryption. The physical size of this SSD is 46mmx85mmx5mm and it is ONLY compatible with systems that contain a Xi3 mSATAmax interface. Release dates and pricing have not been set.
Depends on the specific game. Skyrim and Farcry 3 have cloud saves which come in handy when switching between desktop and laptop coupled with Steam of course.
I love my steam, I am a game dork so it is awesome.
The only bus anything needs now is USB 3.0 and eSATA, so, kudos to ‘em. Small computing is just getting started in, uh, earnest.
I’m a physics/cs student and I have to basically stop gaming during the semester or I’ll fail.
Team Fortress 2 is one of my most fave games and I haven’t played it in 2 years.
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