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xi3pistonTwo months ago at the Consumer Electronics Show, a new partnership between hardware manufacturer Xi3 and Valve seemed bright and happy.

The two companies had announced a “development stage system optimized for computer gameplay on large high-definition television monitors” — a device called the Piston that can run Steam-based games on your TV. Xi3 even said it received an investment from Valve.

Now there’s been some new developments. One day after Valve’s Doug Lombardi told Eurogamer that his company has “no involvement in any product of theirs,” Xi3 shot back with an announcement of its own Wednesday.

“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,” said Jason Sullivan, CEO of Xi3, in the statement. “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.”

valve“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.”

The statement seems to make it clear that while Xi3 and Valve may not be currently working on anything together, there’s certainly still a possibility for that.

Sullivan also wanted to reaffirm that the Piston is not the “official Steam Box,” as some have coined it. Keep in mind that Valve is developing its own “Steam Box,” but prototypes won’t be ready for another three-to-four months.

Sullivan went on to say how the Piston may be something better than a “Steam Box.”

“It’s also important to note that the Piston Console will allow gamers to access Steam regardless of what our relationship is or isn’t with Valve,” he said. “Additionally, Piston will also support a raft of other Internet-based gaming and entertainment platforms, which is more than what Valve apparently has planned for its official Steam Box.”

“In closing, what Valve does or doesn’t do with its Steam Box will be up to them,” he concluded. “So Gabe, it’s up to you. The ball is in your court.”

Xi3 began taking pre-orders for the Piston on Monday, which makes this recent back-and-forth all the more interesting.

Previously on GeekWire: Valve CEO Gabe Newell: Steam Box controller may measure your heart rate

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