CES is in full swing over in fabulous Las Vegas, with electronics giants desperately trying to sell smart fridges and more TVs, and Nvidia announcing yet another tiny/handheld gaming device that may or may not see the light of day. Late last night, Xi3 revealed the Piston, an apparently Valve-funded Steam Box.
Based on the X7A line of tiny, modular computers, the Piston’s specs haven’t been fully revealed, but video game site Polygon is reporting that it has standard and optical audio, a mixture of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, eSATAp ports, mini DisplayPort, and a hybrid DisplayPort/HDMI output. While it’s not confirmed if the Piston itself will run Linux from the manufacturer, other systems of its type from Xi3 run Linux, and Valve Engineers have gone on record saying it will run on Linux.
Valve hasn’t come out to confirm this is the Steam Box though. Although traditionally console announcements happen at one of the big video game industry expos, generally at E3 in the summer, so there may not be an official announcement until then. However, with an impending announcement of at least the next Xbox console, and the timing of this reveal, Valve may instead choose GDC in March.
Steam is currently available for Linux as part of an open Beta, which you can participate in from the Steam website.