Published on March 28th, 2013 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
GDC 2013: Xi3 Reveals Virtual Reality Support for the Piston aka ‘Steam Box’
The company behind the “Piston” modular gaming computer revealed more about its upcoming release at a private event during GDC 2013. David Politis, chief marketing officer at Xi3, revealed quite a few surprising features to come. One of which was the full support for virtual reality upon launch.
As Politis continued on his presentation, he began to narrow his focus on three ways to play. He talked about two we’ve already been acquainted with. The first is having the Piston played as a traditional desktop gaming setup. Secondly, taking advantage of its portability and bring it to a large TV for the Big Picture mode. The third is the support for virtual reality. The immediate thought would be support for the crowd funded VR headset, the Oculus Rift. However, when asked, Politis was unable to respond to our inquiry except for saying, “That type of thing [Oculus] makes sense.”
Talking more in terms of aspirations for the console, it was interesting to see more support for games. The next portion that was discussed came with the acronym B.Y.O.C., which stood for “Bring Your Own Content.” If this sounds cryptic, it was — sort of.
The concept brings together something gamers can appreciate. Once you buy a game for a console it is generally “glued” to the console purchased for. In this sense, Xi3 brings with it a “Cumulative Gaming” experience. This opens the floodgates for older content to be played on the Piston. Politis acknowledged that Xi3 is already in “serious discussions” with game developers large and small in order to make this happen.
This discussion of accessible content makes it so all games, regardless of platform, would be available on a Piston. No, really. We asked about games stemming back to platforms such as the NES and SNES, which are also part of that equation.
If this didn’t already whet your gaming whistle, this might. The console looks as though it will be shipping Holiday 2013. When it launches it will come pre-loaded with free-to-play content and mods. This obviously means mod support. We asked whether or not it was going to be games that are currently part of the free-to-play business model, but nothing could be disclosed at this time.
This is good news for people that know of the modular gaming rig. Believe it or not, there are still folks out there who don’t know what the Piston/Xi3/Steam Box is. When asked what the biggest hurdle for Xi3 and the Piston, Politis replied, “There are still a lot of people that don’t know we exist.”
This statement seemed to stem from the unit being showcased at SXSW 13 (South By Southwest). Many there were only just being introduced to the box.