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Forget consoles, Microsoft is working on an Xbox game streaming stick (Updated)

The stick could let you use that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription on your big screen.

Published onMay 26, 2022

Xbox plant shadow2
Adam Birney / Android Authority
  • Microsoft has confirmed it is developing an Xbox game streaming device.
  • It could take the form of a Roku-like puck or streaming stick.
  • The device would allow users to access games and the usual streaming media fare.

Updated, May 26, 2022 (04:11 PM ET): Microsoft has confirmed that it is working on a streaming Xbox device that would make it easier for users to access Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Codenamed “Keystone,” Microsoft’s device is believed to be a streaming dongle that could be substantially cheaper than a traditional console. The company has been working on it for some time and recently told Windows Central that it was pivoting away from the current iteration of Keystone in favor of “a new approach.” Microsoft did not provide any additional details, other than to say the change of direction would allow it to deliver Xbox Cloud Gaming to even more players, but at least the statement confirms it is still working on the project.

Original article, May 9, 2022 (5:05 AM ET): Game consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 remain pricey devices, while the games themselves aren’t cheap either. But Microsoft could soon introduce a more affordable way to access the Xbox gaming ecosystem on your big screen.

Per VentureBeat, the company is developing a game streaming device similar to a Roku-like puck, Amazon Fire Stick, or Google Chromecast. Instead of just streaming your favorite series from the best streaming platforms, Xbox’s solution will enable access to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service and its titles. Effectively, this would negate the need for a dedicated console to enjoy Xbox games on your (or another’s) television.

Console purists might be thumbing their noses at the idea of a streaming stick, but such a device would be an excellent addition to their gaming hardware. A more portable Xbox device would allow travelers to access Xbox games on the road. Think hotel rooms. Introducing a cheaper way to access its titles could also entice additional Xbox subscribers to bolster Microsoft’s quarterly reports.

Deep dive: Everything about Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Xbox game streaming device: Sound familiar?

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has been linked with a game-forward streaming stick. Rumors first flew in 2016, suggesting that Microsoft was gearing up to launch a streaming stick for $99. Four years later, Xbox boss Phil Spencer hinted that such hardware backed by a cloud-gaming service was within the company’s scope. Considering the slow but steady maturity of cloud-gaming tech, now’s a better time than ever to follow through.

For those not intent on purchasing additional hardware, Microsoft is reportedly working on a dedicated Samsung smart TV app for game streaming. Both the device and app could debut within the next 12 months.

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