Microsoft could explore Xbox game streaming sticks for TVs

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Microsoft’s fledgling Xbox Game Streaming (formerly called xCloud) cloud gaming service could be coming to streaming TV sticks in 2021. The console-free arcade launched on Android back in September with dozens of Xbox games playable.

In an interview with Stratechery (via The Verge), Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s Head of Gaming and Xbox, hinted that ‘dongles’ could be part of the roadmap for Xbox Game Pass subscribers.

“I think you’re going to see lower-priced hardware as part of our ecosystem when you think about streaming sticks and other things that somebody might want to just go plug into their TV and go play via xCloud,” said Spencer. “You could imagine us even having something that we just included in the Game Pass subscription that gave you an ability to stream xCloud games to your television and buying the controller.”

As well as streaming sticks, Spencer also hinted at a Platinum tier for Game Pass, which would guarantee access to new Xbox hardware at release. This would be an evolution from the “Xbox All Access” offering, which pairs a console with a subscription.

With the battle for virtualized gaming now in full swing, thanks to the likes of GeForce Now from NVIDIA, Amazon’s Luna, and of course Google Stadia, the idea of a low-cost alternative to an Xbox console is likely to disrupt any projections those other companies had.

Microsoft already partnered with Samsung to promote Xbox Game Streaming, guaranteeing it a huge audience when it left Preview, but low-cost streaming sticks, as we’ve already seen with movies and TV, will drive a lot of interest from households who can’t afford, or don’t want, a full-service gaming console. And don’t think Microsoft has forgotten Apple—a web-based solution for iOS is in the works and due for rollout early next year.

The only problem then will be where to find an input for yet another HDMI port for your streaming stick.

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