Today at the International Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas, modular PC developer Xi3 announced that it had received an investment from Valve Software, and would be working together with the company to produce a new "development stage" product designed with Steam, and its HDTV-friendly Big Picture mode, in mind.
Valve has made no secret that it is looking into Steam-friendly hardware that would make PC games friendly for the living room, posing a threat to dedicated game consoles from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. This third-party hardware (i.e., it's not produced by Valve itself) is the first Steam-optimized, Valve-backed device to go public.
News of the device -- codenamed "Piston" -- arrives shortly after the launch of Nintendo's new Wii U, and during a year when Sony and Microsoft are expected to make their next-gen moves in the video game space.
"This new development stage product will allow users to take full advantage of their large high-definition TV displays for an amazing computer game experience," Xi3 founder Jason A. Sullivan said in a press release (which did not offer pricing details).
"As a result, 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." The prototype will be on display on the show floor at CES this week.
Xi3 had previously attracted attention for its ambitious Kickstarter campaign in late 2012, promising to "usher in the post-PC era." The campaign only received $90,000 of its $250,000 funding goal.