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MURRAY — There's usually a new tech gadget that's a popular gift idea every holiday season, whether it's a new smartphone or tablet, or a gaming device.
On Saturday, a Utah company set up a gaming lounge to let people try out its latest device in the middle of one of the pedestrian intersections inside Fashion Place Mall. Sofas, tables and giant high definition flat screens designated the gaming lounge, with customers lining up to play.
It's the work of Salt Lake computer company, Xi3 Corporation, which is unveiling its latest product, the "Piston" gaming console — small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
"What's great about Piston, of course, from the very beginning, you see, it's really tiny," said David Politis, Xi3 chief marketing officer. "It's small enough to fit in your hand. It's about the size of a grapefruit, but it's super powerful."
Inside the lounge, customers could try out the games in several different modes: on a giant screen; the more traditional table-top sized monitors; and a virtual reality mode, where special glasses puts you right in the middle of the action.
It's a whole new way of thinking about things, but on top of that, to get the type of graphics capability that you would normally have for a high-end gaming experience, you would need hundreds and hundreds of watts of power. This only needs 40 watts of power. It's less than a light bulb.
–David Politis, David Politis, Xi3 chief marketing officer
"We're playing right now behind me, one of the latest games; it's called 'Ghosts', 'Call of Duty: Ghosts,'" Politis said. "It's a fantastic, very rich, graphically intensive game that you wouldn't think, playing it on the machine this small, but Piston console is designed to do all of that and a lot more."
Piston isn't just a gaming device; it's a regular computer, loaded with Windows and any other standard software that you might use. And it's stingy on power consumption.
"It's a whole new way of thinking about things, but on top of that, to get the type of graphics capability that you would normally have for a high-end gaming experience, you would need hundreds and hundreds of watts of power," Politis said. "This only needs 40 watts of power. It's less than a light bulb."
Xi3 has held only a few of "hands on" demos for customers —this one at Fashion Place has been the largest, drawing hundreds of people to the lounge. The product will start shipping Nov. 29.
"With Piston at the end of the day, is a modular compute," Politis said. Most gaming rigs, it's been five years, six years, eight years since the latest console came out. It's because they're not upgradable. With piston, it is upgradable from day one."