Xi3 Piston Steam-based PC available for pre-order

The Valve-backed, grapefruit-sized living room games wrangler will set you back US$1,000

The Xi3 Piston, a tiny living room gaming PC developed with the involvement of Steam makers Valve, is now available for pre-order.

The Piston starts at US$1,000, but anyone who pre-orders before 17th March will bag a discount of $100. Xi3 says it will send out PCs in time for the “2013 Holiday Season”, which basically means you’ll get it by Christmas.

The price isn’t particularly high by PC standards, but the Piston will be going up against the mass-produced PS4 and Xbox 720 consoles, both of which are likely to be significantly easier on the wallet. Xi3, however, point out that it is upgradeable, which does give it an edge over the more traditional consoles when it comes to maintaining bleeding edge specs over time.

Valve, developers of Steam, has given Xi3 financial backing for the Piston, which runs the Valve’s favoured Linux OS and is designed with Steam’s living room-friendly Big Picture mode in mind. It is not, however, the fabled “Steam Box”, Valve’s own Linux-based living room console, which is still yet to be officially revealed.

The Piston is being shown off at the SXSW expo in Austin, Texas at the moment, and Polygon captured some video of its custom interface in action. Take a look below.

[Xi3 via Polygon]

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