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Microsoft could launch an Xbox game streaming stick for xCloud

Microsoft wants to eliminate barriers to entry, and a cheap game-streaming TV stick may be the ticket.

Published onOctober 23, 2020

xbox series x pre order
  • A Microsoft executive has hinted at the possibility of an Xbox game streaming stick.
  • This would be an effort to bring cheaper hardware to its Xbox gaming portfolio.
  • These devices would likely be designed to access Xbox’s cloud game streaming service.

Microsoft may add more than just expensive consoles to its future device portfolio. Xbox head Phil Spencer has teased the debut of “lower-priced hardware” to encourage users to adopt its Xbox cloud gaming streaming service xCloud.

Spencer, speaking to Stratechery (via The Verge), suggests such hardware could take the form of “streaming sticks” or another portable form factor. These would be a far cheaper investment for users than its forthcoming Xbox Series S and Series X consoles. Spencer also suggested that these cheaper devices could include a “Game Pass subscription that gave you an ability to stream xCloud games to your TV.”

Xbox game streaming stick: What’s the appeal?

While Microsoft is taking the hardware fight to Sony’s PlayStation 5 this generation, the firm isn’t relying on its next-gen consoles alone to entice gamers. Although its new consoles promise high frame rates and detailed textures, console and game prices remain tall financial barriers to entry. A cheap streaming stick would go some way to remedying this issue and encourage more users to adopt Xbox wares.

The immediacy of a plug-and-play device will likely also appeal to gamers on the go or those who don’t want to bother setting up a console.

In 2016, it was rumored Microsoft was set to launch a game streaming stick that would retail for around $99. Arguably, the game streaming infrastructure was lacking back then, but we’ve seen the likes of Google and Amazon launching their own streaming platforms since.

It’s unclear when we might see cheaper Xbox hardware made its debut, but we wouldn’t rule out an announcement at some point next year.

Next: Everything about Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: The best value in gaming?

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