By Angela Hinck / March 12th, 2013
UPDATE: Eurogamer has reported that Valve does not have any major involvement with the PISTON system. Doug Lombardi, Valve’s VP of marketing, reportedly told Eurogamer that “Valve began some exploratory work with Xi3 last year, but currently has no involvement in any product of theirs.” The text below has been modified to reflect this information.
Exciting news! If you had your eyes set on a PISTON console, your time has come. Xi3 Corporation announced at SXSW this week that they are taking pre-orders for the system as of March 8th. You’ll have the opportunity to order a PISTON of your own up until the end of SXSW at 11:59 PM on March 17, 2013. Orders should start shipping out around the 2013 holiday season; just in time to give the gift of a PISTON to your friends, your family, or yourself.
Now, for the less exciting news (at least for those on a budget): $999.99 is the sticker price right now. But there is a silver lining: preording before the end of SXSW will grant you a $100 discount. A standard PISTON will have a 128 GB solid state drive, 8 GB of RAM, and a 3.2Ghz Quad Core processsor. Add $340 to upgrade the SSD to 256 GB, or add $750 for 512 GB.
The system is Xi3’s answer to what they see as a growing demand for a middle ground in the gaming market between PC and console gaming. Jason A. Sullivan, the founder and CEO of Xi3, put it like this:
“Clearly, the computer/video gaming market is huge, both in the personal computer and traditional console markets. That being said, we believe there is a crying need for a machine that captures the best of both worlds, with the upgradeability of computer gaming rigs and the design and form factor of consoles. We believe our PISTON Consoles do exactly that—deliver the beauty and small size of consoles with the upgradeability of computers.”
Although the system has not seen release as of yet, it’s already garnered a lot of attention and even some awards. The PISTON nabbed several of the latter at CES back in January, including but not limited to the Popular Science Product of the Future Award and IGN.com’s Best of CES Award for Best PC. Despite the price, there’s no doubt that a lot of hype is going to keep surrounding this system right up until its release this winter.
You can preorder your PISTON console here.
o3/12/13: Article updated with information regarding Valve’s involvement with the system, and lines previously mentioning said involvement were removed from the article’s main text.