Microsoft wants to get non-console owners playing Xbox and is said to be making a streaming stick that lets you do just that.
There have already been rumours of new Xbox hardware coming out this year, although it always seemed to be something related to streaming rather than a new console.
The newest claim has not only corroborated that rumour, but outright said what it is. Namely, Microsoft is working on its own alternative to a Google Chromecast style dongle: a USB stick that lets you play Xbox without a console.
This has always been part of Microsoft’s strategy to get more people playing its games. Its cloud streaming efforts already make it possible to play Xbox games via a mobile phone, PC, and the new Steam Deck. The new hardware, referred to as a ‘puck’ will now make it easy to play via your smart TV too.
Exact details on the device are slim, but it will presumably look and function similarly to the Chromecast and the Amazon Fire Stick. All you’d need to do is plug it into a compatible TV and you can play any supported Xbox game as long as your broadband can keep up.
While no such device has been officially announced yet, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has previously talked about the possibility of streaming Xbox through TVs.
He even mentioned a dedicated Xbox app, something that VentureBeat adds is also in development for Samsung TVs, making it another potential avenue for new Xbox users.
VentureBeat says both the app and streaming stick should release within the next 12 months. It wouldn’t be surprising if either or both of them are announced at the upcoming Xbox showcase in June.
Microsoft has recently discussed its Xbox Everywhere initiative, where it justifies its dedication to cloud streaming with the claim that ‘on average, Xbox Game Pass players who use cloud, discover and play nearly twice as many games as Xbox Game Pass members who don’t play on cloud.’
Microsoft has already made it possible to play Fortnite on iPhone again by doing so via a web browser. The battle royale was banned from both the Apple and Google Play storefronts for violating their policies and has never officially returned to Apple.
However, it’s unlikely that cloud streaming will wholly replace consoles any time soon, as there is still money to be made from console sales and performance on a dedicated home device will always be better and more reliable than via the cloud.
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