The uber-mini Xi3 Piston small form factor gaming computer first debuted at CES 2013 in January, where Xi3 also confirmed it had received an investment from Valve for the device.
Understandably, this led many to believe the Piston was actually the long anticipated Steam Box computer.
However, over the last few days, a number of reports have surfaced claiming that Valve is no longer associated with Xi3. Was there some sort of souring of the relationship between the two companies?
What we do know for certain is that at least some of the confusion can be attributed to Valve studio head Gabe Newell who recently said that the Piston wasn't "the" Steam Box and that the company was planning its own hardware down the road.
For their part, Xi3 insists the Piston will definitely run Steam and no change in the status between the two companies will ever affect that fact.
Meanwhile, Valve rep Doug Lombardi told Eurogamer: "Valve began some exploratory work with Xi3 last year, but currently has no involvement in any product of theirs."
Apparently the speculation was enough to upset Xi3 founder, president, and CEO Jason A. Sullivan, who has now offered up some comments to help quell all the rumors floating around that there's some sort of rift between his company and Valve.
Sullivan said, "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."
He continued saying, "Then, during a meeting with Valve at CES, Gabe Newell personally asked me that we not disclose additional information about our relationship with Valve. We have honored that request and will continue to do so. That said, there are other items we need to cover."
"For example, the assumption of many in the media has been that PISTON is the 'official' Steam Box. We've never said that and neither has Valve. That hasn't changed. But 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."
Sullivan also noted that Piston pre-orders have "amazed" the company and they are concerned that with the number of pre-orders received they may not be able to meet the demand for the Piston Console for the 2013 holiday season.
Sullivan also threw a little jab at Gabe Newell saying, "In closing, what Valve does or doesn't do with its Steam Box will be up to them. So Gabe, it's up to you. The ball is in your court."