The strange and sordid saga of Xi3's Steambox/apparently not a Steambox/grapefruit of the fuuuuuuuuture slogs on. You'll remember that Valve publicly denounced the little-PC-that-could (cost $1000) yesterday, which came as a strange turn of events after it was first announced with an investment from the very same Steam-powered empire. Right hand, meet left? Or maybe this was all an evil plot hatched by none other than Nega-Newell, who's spent the past couple years masquerading as the real deal and making a series of baffling decisions. It sounds just as plausible as anything else, I think, given that Xi3's now revealed that the rabbit hole runs even deeper. Apparently, it was actually Valve who commissioned them to make the damn thing in the first place.
In a statement issued to Kotaku, Xi3 outlined the alleged string of events that brought us to this point:
"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. 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."
The company then noted that Gabe Newell himself requested Xi3 not disclose details of their business relationship to the public. That did not, however, stop it from hinting very strongly at them. "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," said founder Jason A. Sullivan.
That said, Xi3 seems dead-set on steering its own ship with or without Steam's official support. The company concluded by noting that players will be able to run Steam on Piston no matter what and also pointed out that it doesn't agree with Valve's Linux-heavy vision of the future - which is why Piston will run Windows out of the box.
The plan, then, is to continue taking pre-orders en route to shipping Piston at the end of the year. If it's successful, I imagine Xi3's Executive VP of Snappy Yet Professional Press Release One-Liner Writing will receive a handsome raise.
"In closing, what Valve does or doesn't do with its Steam Box will be up to them," the statement finished. "So Gabe, it's up to you. The ball is in your court."
ONLY IT'S REALLY MORE OF A GRAPEFRUIT WHAT NOW GABE WHAT YOU GOT.