During SXSW (pronounced six-swuh) Xi3, the company developing one of the potential Gabe Cubes, the Piston, have opened up preorders on the modular microcomputer, and they’ve even thrown in a $100 discount for the early buyers.
The Piston first made big news in January at CES where it appeared to be the long-fabled Steam Box (I will be calling it the Gabe Cube from now on because I want to incite grassroots change). It’s a tiny computer that would be an ideal fit for the living room, in place of a traditional console, it’s also a modular device, meaning you can plug in graphics cards and expanded hard drives without needing to open up its case fiddle with the machine’s innards, just plug them into case sockets like they were a USB device. Anyway, it turned out that the Piston was just one of the possible Gabe Cubes, with other companies working on similar small computers.
Well, in a press release from Xi3, Jason Sullivan, president of the company, said “we’ve become seriously concerned that we will not be able to meet the demand for PISTON Consoles this year [...] and so have decided to begin accepting pre-orders on our PISTON Console, beginning today with the start of the SXSW Gaming Expo.”
The machine will be usable on the showfloor for attendees who are interested in trying it out before ordering. For all of us not over in the States and able to attend SXSW, we are still able to preorder the machine with the $100 discount being offered over this weekend. Considering the Piston is normally to be on sale for $999.99 this is likely to be the cheapest you’ll be able to pick it up for a while.
This all said, with no confirmation from Valve on when or what a Gabe Cube will be, putting $1,000 down on a machine you’ve not yet tried and don’t know how capable it is (it doesn’t even ship with a graphics card), seems a little risky. If you like risk then you should hop on over to their order page.
Infinity Ward are fans at least, as they recently posted a picture of a studio-branded Piston.