One of the biggest rumours that has been going back and forth in recent times, is about an up and coming device from Valve. Currently the industry has dubbed this device as the "Steam Box".
We've seen quite a few developments from Valve in regards to Steam to support a device of this nature. First and foremost we have a new UI in the form of Steam’s Big Picture mod, with its very use being for a living room, on a big HDTV, almost giving a console like experience (In that you're able to lay/sit on your sofa with your control pad to go through the menu and start your games). We also have Valves current stance on Windows 8, and their new found support for Linux.
With CES underway, we've seen quite a few interesting devices, such as NVIDIA's Project Shield, devices like this only helped pushing the rumour that we'd see some kind of Valve device at this CES.
Along came Xi3 with their new modular X86 "Piston", this pretty much shot the speculation into overdrive, was this the "Steam Box we've all been waiting on"?
The Piston is a modular X86 based computer using a derivative of AMD's Trinity in a rather small form factor. Xi3 is a company that is part invested in by, guess who? Yes, Valve.
Then came the press releases with Xi3 about the piston, matters weren't helped when Xi3 stated that the Piston had been designed to support Steam and Steams newly released Steam Big Picture mode.
At this point, something had to give, enter Gabe Newell. Was he going to confirm that the Piston was the Steam box Unfortunately not. He specified that while the Steam Box isn't at CES, they are however working on releasing their own hardware running Linux. However, it isn't going to be locked down, which means the installation of Windows is possible.
So, we don't know how long we'll have to wait, or how Valve's going to pull off the Steam Box, or even what this Steam Box will entail, all we know, is it is coming.