Valve invests in Xi3 PC maker; will make Steam Big Picture PC

Valve has been hinting strongly it wants to help create some kind of hardware device that would use Valve's Steam client that would connect to a TV similar to a game console. This "Steam Box" seems to be one step closer to reality thanks to today's announcement of Valve's involvement with the PC maker Xi3.

Xi3's press release states that it plans to develop what it calls a "development stage system" that will use the company's Xi3 Modular Computer case similar to the one pictured above. The PC will be designed to work specifically with Valve's Steam client and its recently launched Big Picture mode that has a user interface made especially for large TV screens and gamepads.

Jason A. Sullivan, the CEO of Xi3, states, " ... this new system could provide access to thousands of gaming titles through an integrated system that exceeds the capabilities of leading game consoles, but can fit in the palm of your hand." That would seem to suggest that this system would run on a version of Windows, which is the OS which the platform of choice for the vast majority of Steam games. Valve has recently started beta testing a Linux client of Steam but so far only a handful of Steam games run on Linux.

Valve has also put in an unspecified amount of money into Xi3. Valve will be showing off the system during CES 2013 this week. No other information about this system has been revealed, including no hint of a launch date and price.

Source: Xi3 press release | Image via Xi3

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Sony unveils Xperia Z flagship; 1080p display, water-proof

Next Story

Report: Windows Phone 8 grows quickly, Nokia dominates Windows Phone market

20 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

this would explain why valve were so upset about Microsoft Launching their own App store and developing a closed version of their OS.
Any further advances or restrictions on that is likely to really mess up their plans.

There is no way it will ship with windows! It will run linux, hence why valve is porting steam to linux. Windows would add ~$50 to the cost of the pc. It will probably use a tegra 4 i would have thought. Its a shame AMD can't make a tiny motherboard like intel did with their $400 computer they released a few months ago as they could get full amd graphics into a small box.

Why would anyone buy a "Steam box" and install Windows on it ?

If a "Steam box" ever see the light of the day (and i would be surprised if it didn't) it will probably run on an internal distro and the ui will be Big picture. Joe Blow wont even know he is running Linux like he doesn't know Android is based upon Linux.

it's not about the OS, it's about the stuff that runs on it... yeah, steam on linux is a nice thought but even steam on mac is a far cry from anything a gamer would require, so if they want to sell this cube in sometime like 2020 than it's okay, if they want an actual product that gamers want to buy in, like, you know, the PRESENT than it's out of the question

of course the give w/ linux or w/o OS concept can get some customers because of the price cut, but the end result will be a windows, as always

If it is Linux based then they are probably going to rely heavily on the Android market games. DirectX is Microsoft's SDK so they definitely will not be using it on Linux.

I'm pretty sure that they are intending to go Linux given Gabe's comments/perceived threat of Windows and direction that Valve aregoing with Linux. No company is going to spend so much money rewriting for a platform just for the sake of it, they have obviously calculated that they will make a profit on this. Porting to Linux alone would not be enough to make profits because there is no market for Linux-only games, every PC gamer who already uses Linux has already bit the bullet and bought Windows, so it's not Valve's problem to make sure Linux users have access to Steam. Those currently using Steam Linux are most likely already Steam Windows users prior to this. "Could run" 1000s of games is probably what they expect as a long term goal, "could" be the operative word. They already have about 35 games on Steam Linux so getting into the 1000s in a few years does not seem unrealistic if the product has a successful launch.

Edited by Simon-, Jan 8 2013, 6:39am :

This is most def a streaming device, I thought it would be an actual pc with gpu cpu and stuff but now because of the size I really think its going to stream, I wonder how it will work though prob install something on your main gaming pc and the steam box would pick up the signal on the network to stream. With a custom linux os this can also double as a htpc that can also grab all the media from the pc. This can all be done wirelessly if it is optimized.

I was just on their website. $700 for a decent one. I guess if you want a desktop computer, big screen, and live in an apartment and are short for space... worth it. Otherwise, stick to building your own computer. I think overall, its a PC version of the MacMini.

FYI: The product ships with openSUSE, Win 7 is a $110 add-on.

Titoist said,
I was just on their website. $700 for a decent one. I guess if you want a desktop computer, big screen, and live in an apartment and are short for space... worth it. Otherwise, stick to building your own computer. I think overall, its a PC version of the MacMini.

FYI: The product ships with openSUSE, Win 7 is a $110 add-on.

Yeah I can't imagine too many people wanting openSUSE on their computer!

Titoist said,
I was just on their website. $700 for a decent one. I guess if you want a desktop computer, big screen, and live in an apartment and are short for space... worth it. Otherwise, stick to building your own computer. I think overall, its a PC version of the MacMini.

FYI: The product ships with openSUSE, Win 7 is a $110 add-on.

Why would they even 'pretend' that Win 7 costs $110. At most OEMs are paying $60-80 for Win7.

Talk about taking themselves down the rabbit hole with Steam.

Skyfrog said,
If you sell something for the same amount you gave for it you won't be in business very long.

But if your prices are higher than everybody else, you won't be in business long either.

That won't be beefy enough for proper games but it might be enough for a lot of the indie / arcade games and will be cheap to boot.

Whatever Valve does, it needs to ensure that it's a scalable architecture - it can't be fixed spec like the X360 / PS3. PC games are already being held back enough by consoles without Valve doing the same for PC games.

Looks like Steam is trying to invest into the Indi market with this...

IMHO anyway.... Depends on the specs of it but I see this being more of a tool to play indi/smaller games than big budget games...