Xbox is Building Standalone Streaming Devices for Cloud Gaming

Posted on June 10, 2021 by Brad Sams in Xbox with 5 Comments

Microsoft’s Xbox brand has been undergoing a significant transition during the past couple of years. A brand that was once lost in its direction has found its place in the gaming world and is driving significant change in how we think about console experiences.

In the last decade, console gaming has been exactly that, a game tied explicitly to a piece of hardware and only accessible to those who can pay the upfront cost for the device. But with Cloud Gaming, Microsoft is removing that barrier and is allowing consumers to play in the waters that were exclusively locked behind a hardware paywall.

Today, you can play Cloud Gaming on iOS, Android, and in the browser (some services are still in limited beta) but there is one area that is still lacking in access to the gaming service and it’s likely one of the most lucrative end-points; the living room.

Microsoft is announcing today a new initiative that will close the loop on end-points for Cloud Gaming. The company is working with TV manufacturers to embed the Xbox experience directly into internet-connected televisions that will work natively with Xbox controllers. Meaning, you will be able to connect your controller to these TVs and play Xbox content with an Xbox Game Pass subscription.

But for TVs and devices that do not have this functionality, Microsoft is working on a solution. The company has confirmed that it is working on standalone streaming devices to access cloud gaming.

Liz Hamren, CVP of Gaming Experiences & Platforms stated during a recent media event that “we’re working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Game Pass experience directly into internet-connected TVs so all you’ll need to play is a controller. Beyond that, we’re also developing standalone streaming devices that you can plug into a TV or monitor, so if you have a strong internet connection, you can stream your Xbox experience.”

While we do not have an expected launch timeline yet for this hardware, it is the natural evolution of the service. Microsoft is pushing aggressively to bring its Game Pass subscription to as many users as possible and with a low-cost device like a streaming stick (or similar style hardware), this opens the door to many more users.

The idea of a streaming stick is not new, Microsoft built such a device many years ago that was codenamed Hobart. That device never made its way to the market but it’s clear that Microsoft has been pursuing this type of technology for many years.

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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Xbox is Building Standalone Streaming Devices for Cloud Gaming”

  1. brothernod

    Will this be like an Apple TV with Netflix and such, or will it just be a dongle for Xbox cloud gaming plus Bluetooth controllers?

    • whistlerpro

      I'm sure it will have cloud gaming (what's the point otherwise?) but you make a good point that it will be Microsoft's entry into the streaming stick market.

      • bettyblue

        IMHO it too late for Microsoft to enter the streaming (tv/movies/music) market. I mean with their track record would you buy a movie from them? I own movies on iTunes (had to use those iTunes gift cards) and I do not fear that service going away. Microsoft has abandoned the music market and I think you can still get movies from them...but I would bet that goes away.

    • thretosix

      I'm speculating just for TV's that don't have Bluetooth or capable of running the app through their TV's store. For instance I would think Android TVs with Bluetooth wouldn't need it.

  2. ronh

    I think that an Xbox cloud gaming stick that would also work like a Roku would be useful. I am running out of HDMI ports.