Last year at CES, we got a glimpse of some hardware that was said to be the very first Steam Box — Xi3’s Piston. This year at CES, we saw actual, official Steam Machines manufactured by over 10 different companies. Toward the end of last year, we also saw Valve’s beta Steam Machine hardware. Since the Piston’s reveal at the beginning of 2013, though, we haven’t seen much of it, and these other units have stepped into the spotlight instead. Xi3’s CMO, David Politis, revealed why we haven’t heard much of the Piston in the recent flood of Steam Machine news: it’s not a Steam Machine anymore, and the reason why is even more surprising.The Piston is not an official Steam Machine anymore not because of some succulent drama, but according to Politis, is due to a mutual and understood philosophical difference. This difference, though, could certainly lead to some juicy drama: Xi3 felt that Windows is a better platform for a gaming than Linux, which is, at the moment at least, completely true.The dirty not-so-secret about Valve’s Steam Machine initiative is that the only unique hardware involved is its potentially subpar controller, and some wacky cases designs from third-party manufacturers. Steam Machines are basically just standard PCs in cases that are more eye-catching than the usual black rectangles. However, they’re actually a bit worse due to Steam OS, the Linux-based operating system that forces the currently meager Linux Steam library onto gamers. In order to access the full Steam Library, you can either stream games from your Windows PC to your Steam Machine, or install Windows onto your Machine instead of Steam OS, but then what’s the point of the Steam Machine? This appears to be the conclusion to which Xi3 has arrived.Xi3 isn’t abandoning Steam — the client is featured on the Piston — but the company felt that now isn’t the time to abandon Windows because, basically, that’s where all the games are.As Politis points out, Steam has over 50 million registered users, but so does EA’s Origin, so it doesn’t make sense to not only ostracize that group of gamers from the console, but ostracize Xi3 from that group of customers. Furthermore, Xi3 acknowledges that Windows is the dominant platform, so abandoning it now wouldn’t be the savviest move.None of this ideology is very new — we’ve known since the initial reveal that the Steam Machine is nothing more than a regular PC with some fancy branding — but it’s interesting to see one of the first pieces of hardware associated with the platform back off for these very reasons. That doesn’t mean that either the Piston or the Steam Machine will fail, but if you’ve felt like a crazy person over the past couple of weeks because you didn’t understand the big deal with the Steam Machine: the guys who were making the first one don’t understand it either.