Valve unveils its new product and why it matters:
Over the break Valve confirmed its new project and, unlike most products that come in the form of games, this is a bit different. Rumors about Valve’s attempts at making a computer have been running all over the internet and a few weeks ago it was confirmed at a trade show. Valve unveiled along with the help of Xi3’s design team the small supercomputer called Piston.
Piston seems like a logical step in Valve’s hypothetical attempt to take over the world of pc gamming by standardizing the way gamers play games on the pc. There is a much bigger leap into the future than Valve predicted. This device is the start of a bridge between console gamers and computer gamers.
For years the gamer debate between the console and the pc has been raging on. Console benefits include their ease of playability in the form of games always working on the system they purchased. It is a PC benefit that they have better upgradeability and a potentially limitless capacity for expanding one’s system. While consoles have been winning this battle due to price, the average console running between 150 to 400 dollars comparatively to the average price of a decent computer gaming system running about 700 to 1500, Piston will bring a new player to the bench.
Piston is not just a computer, but a console competitor. It comes preloaded with Value’s big picture, a program to make plugging a computer into a TV much simpler. Also, with the built in console control looking similarly to an X-box controller, console gamers will feel rather at home with this device. It is very portable, fitting easily in the palm of your hand, much smaller than most computers and even smaller than the PlayStation 3. This makes it easy to bring to LAN parties or transporting the device to friends house. It comes with a 64-bit x86-based processor, up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, an SSD as large as a terabyte. That is pretty impressive for a stock computer. While the stocked hardware is enough to play most games at the highest resolution, Piston is also upgradable, something that console gamers currently cannot do. This feature really helps the Piston stand above the rest.
While Piston is a well thought out machine, the major downside, and one that will keep this thing from flying off the shelves, is the price.Â Just one dollar shy of one thousand dollars, that price will keep most casual gamers away from this console.
Despite this price, I do believe this device is a good competitor for the market and it will change how Sony and Microsoft build its next gen consoles.