Rumor or truth?
Although nothing has been officially announced, the head of gaming and Xbox, Phil Spencer made a statement in an interview that the company is working on TV streaming sticks for its xCloud gaming service.
The interview was with Stratechery, and Phil Spencer talked about tiers for the Xbox Game Pass, and the inclusion of a bundled TV stick to play xCloud games.
If you are not familiar with xCloud, it is Microsoft’s cloud gaming service which launched for Xbox Game Pass subscribers on September 15, 2020.
In the interview, Phil Spencer said “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”.
The head of gaming and Xbox also says he sees the introduction of lower priced hardware entering the market allowing someone to
“just go plug into their TV and go play via xCloud.”
This type of model would play well into their newly hinted Xbox All Access, which gives players access to Xbox Game Pass and an Xbox Series X console all under a simple subscription model.
Minimizing this hardware offering will be very cost effective for Microsoft and would give them greater profit margins in these types of subscription models.
This is not the first time Microsoft has hinted at a TV stick for Xbox.
Back in 2016 Microsoft was planning on releasing an Xbox streaming device, but the company canceled all of its plans.
The devices were originally planned to be announced at E3 in June of 2016, but decided to forgo its plans to release the product.
What Will It Cost?
The device was originally planned to cost $99 and was codenamed Project Hobart.
There have been no clear answers as to why the product was cancelled in 2016, but for those who were excited about an Xbox streaming stick will be happy to hear of this latest tease by Phil Spencer in 2020.
If you look at Microsoft’s latest business dealings, the announcement of a streaming stick makes perfect sense.
Microsoft partnered with Samsung earlier this year for xCloud, and it would make sense for the two companies to partner together on something that brings the Samsung TV and Microsoft Xbox closer together.
With Samsung’s 5G enabled phones already starting to roll out, the introduction of a streaming service partnered with Microsoft Xbox Game Pass and xCloud is very likely.
This streaming stick provides a great opportunity for Samsung to sell more TVs and Microsoft to sell more subscriptions.
If you are a gamer, or even a Microsoft fanboy, this is very exciting news.
The idea of being able to play your favorite AAA Xbox games wherever, and whenever you want is very intriguing.
It will be interesting to see how this teased streaming stick from Phil Spencer unfolds and if the streaming stick actually comes to fruition this time around.
Let us all hope the official announcement of this streaming stick comes very soon.