Xbox confirmed that it is still developing a low cost streaming device designed to bring Game Pass to the masses by cutting out the console. However, the company seems to have had a problem with the latest hardware in development and is now switching to a new approach.
An xCloud streaming stick was first announced in June 2021 alongside plans to bring a hardware-free Xbox Game Pass app to compatible TVs. the company had previously teased an Xbox streaming device, indicating that a device was being developed that could be connected to a television or monitor to stream games. More recently, a product codenamed “Keystone” appeared in an Xbox OS listing.
In a statement to windows centerA Microsoft spokesperson reiterated Xbox’s intentions to release a cloud gaming dongle, but admitted the concept in development should be scrapped.
Our vision for Xbox Cloud Gaming is unwavering, our goal is to enable people to play the games they want, on the devices they want, anywhere they want. As announced last year, we’ve been working on a game streaming device, codenamed Keystone, that could connect to any TV or monitor without the need for a console,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.
As part of any technical journey, we constantly evaluate our efforts, review our learnings, and ensure we deliver value to our customers. We have made the decision to move away from the current iteration of the Keystone device. We will take our learnings and refocus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to offer Xbox Cloud Gaming to more gamers around the world in the future.
We don’t know much about the streaming device other than its goal of lowering the barrier to entry for access to Xbox Cloud Gaming, which includes hundreds of games through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, along with TV shows, movies, and other media. It could take the form of a Roku Streaming Stick or it could be a larger box with an Ethernet port and USB connections. The first leaks show a mini hub with Ethernet, USB and HDMI ports and a look similar to the Xbox Series S.
Whatever the case, this device can’t come soon enough; While stock is slowly approaching demand, buying the latest Xbox consoles at retail prices remains a challenge. Even if you can get one, it will cost you a minimum of $300 for the xbox s series and $500 for the X-series. A low-cost streaming device could benefit both consumers and Xbox, giving the former a cheaper way to experience modern games, while the latter earn a steady stream of revenue through subscriptions.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, especially as Xbox intends to bring a cloud gaming app to select TVseliminating the need for additional hardware altogether. The last we heard about the streaming device was that it could come within the next 12 months. I wouldn’t hold my breath; After all, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in November 2020 that we’d see an Xbox app on TVs in 12 months and that he “doesn’t think anything’s stopping us from doing it.” Here we are in 2022, still frantically clicking through to retailer websites for a chance to spend big bucks on a console.