With CES 2013 in full swing, there's a new development making the rounds out in beautiful Las Vegas. With Ultra HD and a variety of other home entertainment technologies being shown off, one of the biggest developments is just for us: the gamers.
The development in question comes our way from a combined force of Xi3 and Valve
, who unveiled a new computer in an Xi3 Modular Computer chassis. Not only is this a computer tailor-made for living rooms everywhere as it's only about the size of a grapefruit, it's also specifically optimized to handle Steam
's recently-minted Big Picture Mode. This is a development that likely has Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo very concerned indeed.
Admittedly, specs are a bit short on the ground for the product--likely because at last report, it was still in the development stage--but if it's sufficient to run Steam, then it must be pretty sound spec-wise. But if it does work with Steam, it's going to have a lot of possibilities.
Steam is most familiar for its sales, in which incredible amounts of PC games are offered for extremely low prices. That means a lot of fodder on hand for those who do get in on the Valve / Xi3 combination when it actually launches, if it actually launches. If it includes the ability to tackle Web-based video, then the console producers really do have a problem on their hands.
The role of PC gaming in the gaming market has been somewhat variable over the years. In some cases, it's been a major competing force, and in some cases, it's been an also-ran at best. But with the rise of Steam, and the ongoing fight for living room dominance, PC gaming has a new opportunity to snag a role in the great gaming stakes.
Chances are there will be a lot more information coming out around the Valve / Xi3 co-production with the approach of E3, which is just a few months away, but before then, it's still going to be the kind of thing that may destabilize the industry as we know it. The more we find out about this thing, the better picture we'll have, but the implications have potential enough to change a lot of things in gaming.