Microsoft Shares Details on “Keystone” Xbox Game Streaming Device

Posted on May 26, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Games, Project xCloud, Xbox with 7 Comments

Microsoft has shared new details about its plans to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to TVs with new dedicated hardware. In a statement shared with Windows Central, the company confirmed that it’s still working on a device codenamed “Keystone” that can be connected to TVs and monitors, though the device is apparently far from ready.

“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, codename Keystone, that could be connected to any TV or monitor without the need for a console,” A Microsoft spokesperson told Windows Central.

“As part of any technical journey, we are constantly evaluating our efforts, reviewing our learnings, and ensuring we are bringing value to our customers. We have made the decision to pivot 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 deliver Xbox Cloud Gaming to more players around the world in the future.”

It’s unclear why Microsoft changed its plans for its Keystone device along the way, though it’s quite possible that the company is still figuring out the software that will run on Keystone. Microsoft still doesn’t have a “smart TV” OS, and adapting the Xbox OS to a low-cost ARM-based device with far less RAM than Xbox consoles may not be a viable option. Using an Android-based OS for Keystone may make more sense, especially if Microsoft wants to leverage the growing catalog of Android apps optimized for the big screen.

In addition to this brand new Keystone device, Microsoft is also planning to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to smart TVs from Samsung and other manufacturers. “We want to empower everyone around the world to play the games they want, with the people they want, on the devices they already own. We call this Xbox Everywhere,” said Catherine Gluckstein, Vice President and Head of Product, Xbox Cloud Gaming earlier this month.

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Comments (7)

7 responses to “Microsoft Shares Details on “Keystone” Xbox Game Streaming Device”

  1. Yannick

    The Xbox OS is designed to work with 4GB or less, so not sure "low-cost ARM-based device with far less RAM" is *that* much of a problem.

  2. brothernod

    I've always believed that Microsoft should package a streaming stick in a Kinect to leverage all their strengths. Make a Netflix box that can stream xbox games and make easy skype/Teams calls on your tv.

    Obviously the Kinect moment has passed but we're far more in to family video calls than ever before.

    • rm

      Thye just need to bundle Kinect separately from Xbox and make it work with Xbox consoles or PCs at a reasonable cost. Then have apps like Teams and Skype and games available, some games just would need to be updated at a low cost to developers. But they need to go into it knowing it would be a slow start for a few years.

  3. rmlounsbury

    I suppose I always assumed that any sort of Xbox streaming stick would be Android at the OS Level with Microsoft doing the skinning on top to make it a more Xbox'esque interface experience. I'm okay with that. I already use the Xbox app on my Note 20 to do a decent amount of mobile gaming. So long as a streaming stick scales it appropriately to my 50"+ 4K screen I don't much care if Android is underneath.

  4. scovious

    So it's being assumed that the Xbox OS uses too much RAM, even though it only runs on 2.5 GB of dedicated RAM? And the proposed alternative in order to use *less* RAM is Android OS? Is that a joke? There is no OS on earth that uses more RAM than Android. Even Windows 11 uses less.

  5. darkgrayknight

    There is a Windows IoT version, so really that could be the base with some additions to make the UWP type apps work well on large screens would also be available. Xbox OS is not really hindered by low RAM, ARM might be less capable, but I'm sure they can do this work.