The mystery surrounding the development of Xi3’s Piston PC console took an interesting (and highly entertaining) turn this morning, as Jason Sullivan, the company’s founder and CEO, has publicly refuted Valve’s claims that they had nothing to do with the Piston hardware. A press release sent out by Xi3 Corporation today claims that it was Valve who initially asked the company to build the $1,000 Piston console.
Valve’s Doug Lombardi kicked off the war of words between the two companies yesterday, when he contacted Eurogamer to state that his company was not financially backing the Piston, and had only “began some exploratory work with Xi3 last year”. Lombardi then added that Valve “currently has no involvement in any product of theirs [Xi3].”
Xi3 Corporation clearly stated in their original CES press release announcing the Piston that they had “received an investment from Valve Corporation”, and were showcasing the hardware with Valve at CES. Today’s press release from Sullivan restates that the relationship between Xi3 and Valve did in fact exist, despite Lombardi’s claims.
“We reaffirm the fact that we received an investment from Valve Corporation (as we previously disclosed during the 2013 International CES trade show), and we did so with Valve’s written permission.” Xi3 CEO Jason Sullivan wrote.
“Second, we were asked to build a product specifically for Valve, and both companies showcased this product-the PISTON Console-in their respective booths at CES 2013. Then during a meeting with Valve at CES, Gabe Newell personally asked me that we not disclose additional information about our relationship with Valve. We have honored that request and will continue to do so.”
“[However], just because Valve may not ‘currently’ have any ‘involvement with any product of (ours)’ doesn’t mean that such involvement won’t exist in the future.”
Sullivan then went on to borderline attack Valve’s upcoming Steam Box console, and outlined why he believes that Xi3’s Piston will be a superior piece of hardware to whatever Valve eventually comes up with.
“It’s also important to note that the PISTON Console will allow gamers to access Steam regardless of what our relationship is or isn’t with Valve,” he added. “Additionally, PISTON will also support a raft of other Internet-based gaming and entertainment platforms, which is more than what Valve apparently has planned for its official Steam Box.”
“In this way, the PISTON Console could be perceived as something more than just a Steam Box, which makes sense because at its core the PISTON Console is a Modular Computer that can run any operating system or application designed to run on an x86-based 64-bit computer.”
“To be clear, the PISTON Console will ship initially with a Windows operating system specifically because that’s where the vast bulk of game software and computer gamers are today. That said, the PISTON Console can also run Linux (and other operating systems), which means it can support the Linux-version of Steam.”
Sullivan then contrasted the Piston’s approach to Valve’s Steam Box vision, saying:
“Xi3 believes that the way to take this to market today is to do so with a Windows OS at the core, coupled with the ability to not just get to one platform/store for games, but to get access to all game stores/platforms. Studios should have the option to go through Steam if they choose or to go direct to the end-user if they so choose. That will be the difference between PISTON and other Steam Boxes.”
The press release ended with Sullivan taking one final shot at Valve’s Gabe Newell, saying “In closing, what Valve does or doesn’t do with its Steam Box will be up to them. So Gabe, it’s up to you. The ball is in your court.”
Valve has not yet responded to the Xi3 press release, or otherwise addressed the company’s claims about the development of the Piston PC console. Clearly, some feather’s were ruffled with Lombardi’s statements yesterday, so it will be interesting to see where things go from here.