It might not be the strongly-rumoured Steambox games console itself, but on the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 a physical prototype of a Steam-powered mini-PC has been on show. Valve have teamed up with hardware vendor Xi3 to build a modular, miniature PC, which is currently code-named ‘Piston’.
Rumour has it that the Steambox will run Linux, which isn’t surprising given the investment and time that Valve have put into porting their client and game titles over to platform. A Windows-based console would come with licensing restrictions, overhead and, if it was to use Windows 8, a lock-in to the Windows Store.
Given how closely Canonical and Valve have worked together over the last 12 months, and that Canonical have a vested commitment to Ubuntu as a platform, the logical choice would be Ubuntu. Ubuntu can be run free of a GUI (handy for Valve since it will likely use Big Picture Mode as its interface) but would also free Valve and Xi3 from the duties of distribution maintenance.