Xi3 Corporation has tapped “Black Friday” (11/29/2013), marketing’s traditional start to the holiday shopping season, as the date for general availability of its highly-acclaimed PISTONTM gaming console. Pre-orders are anticipated to be in purchasers’ hands on or before 11/15/2013, a full two weeks prior to general availability.
Xi3 originally debuted the PISTONTM Console at the International CES trade show in January of 2013, where it proceeded to rack up quite a number of accolades:
* Popular Mechanics — Editor’s Choice award
* Popular Science — Product of the Future award
* IGN.com — Best of CES award (Best PC)
* Men’s Health — Coolest Tech at CES 2013
* Digital Trends — Best of CES, gaming
* TechRadar — Best New Products from CES 2013
This fall, we expect to see the launch of new gaming systems from Microsoft (Xbox) and Sony (PlayStation), as well as continuing development by Steam of its own Linux-based operating system. This has fueled unprecedented interest in Xi3’s PISTONTM Console, including speculation that PISTON may be the long-awaited “Steam Box”.
According to Jason A. Sullivan, Xi3’s founder, president and CEO, “The PISTON Console is just Xi3’s first step in what we believe will be a transformative technology revolution for the Living Room. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what I know is coming because it’s not time to tell you. But I will say this: the bar has been raised. PISTON is smaller, lighter, and will last longer, provide more gaming options and be more powerful than any other gaming console on the planet. The reason I feel confident in saying this is because we started with a clean slate, unlike competing manufacturers. And that Tabula Rasa approach is what sets PISTON apart from other gaming systems today and what will set us apart tomorrow.”
Xi3 is also revealing today some enhancements for the PISTON console. Storage cacpacity has been doubled, PISTON’s Ethernet controller has been optimized for gameplay traffic, and PISTONs will be shipping with pre-loaded “Pack-in” titles.
Originally, Xi3 had announced that PISTON will utilize solid-state storage, shipping with a standard 128GB SSD. Xi3 announces today that it has been able to double the potential SSD storage capacity by adding a second SSD connector within its PISTON design, as well as an internal separate microSD slot. The second SSD connector creates the capability for more than 1TB of SATAIII, 6 GB/s solid-state storage.
The PISTON’s Ethernet controller has been designed to recognize and prioritize computer gaming data to the top of the PISTON’s network queue. This prioritization will further speed-up response times for PISTON’s gameplay. Xi3 indicated that additional optimized gameplay details will be revealed at a future date.
Sullivan observes that “With the latest and greatest games — whether played solo, against your buddy, or in online MMO titles — those extra milliseconds provided by PISTON’s optimized gaming traffic can mean the difference between victory or death. PISTON’s solid-state drives also mean you’ll be able to load games faster than ever before, making your overall experience even better. In addition, by adding a second SSD to their PISTONs, users will be able to load a second operating system onto their machines, including the newly announced SteamOS.”
Xi3 also announced today that PISTON Consoles will ship with “pack-in” gaming titles pre-loaded. Additional information about publisher and/or developer partnerships, along with a list of “pack-in” titles, will be announced sometime prior to the Black Friday launch.
Sullivan further states that “Our goal is to set a new standard for the gaming world with the PISTON Console. It’s so small and lightweight, it can easily fit in the palm of your hand. The PISTON has also been designed to be modular from the ground up, which means we’ve built it so it can be easily updated and upgraded — no other gaming manufacturer has ever done that.”
Based on the modular, patented Xi3 Computer Architecture, the PISTON Console comes housed in a softball-sized, matte black aluminum chassis accented with chrome trim. The PISTON Consoles feature a quad-core x86-based 64-bit processor, integrated with 384 programmable discrete class graphics cores capable of running most popular games. The PISTON Console also supports 4K-resolution (4096 X 2160 pixels), and gives users the ability to simultaneously run three high-definition monitors or displays, providing a fully immersive gaming experience.
The PISTONTM Console is available here for pre-order today at $999.99. The product page for the Xi3 PISTONTM Console can be viewed here. When competition and the pace of development ramp up quickly, things can get interesting in a hurry. Stay tuned for further developments.