As it turns out, in addition to streaming for your phones, tablets, Xbox consoles and PC at some undisclosed point, Microsoft may also offer a dedicated streaming stick that is free with a subscription to Xbox Game Pass. With this streaming stick, you would only need a TV and a controller to have access to your favorite Xbox video games.
However, we should note that the head of Xbox Phil Spencer did not actually confirm that such a device was coming to an extent where there could be no doubt, but he did heavily hint at the existence of such a product. It seems fairly likely that Microsoft may have something planned for 2021, following the holiday rush and giving a few months for the new Xbox consoles to get their footing.
“You could imagine us even having something that we just included in the Game Pass subscription that gives you an ability to stream xCloud games to your television and buying a controller,” Spencer said.
The whole thing sounds very similar to the way Google Stadia works with the Chromecast Ultra stick, and needless to say, it would be a great choice for anyone that wants the experience of owning an Xbox console but doesn’t have the need or space for one. Of course, Stadia took a stab at this concept already, but thanks to its subscription model and pretty slow rollout of features, it’s been getting to a pretty rough start. Stadia does have Google’s own first-party studios to help develop games for it, but it would probably be years before we see anything from that, and Stadia may not have the steam to last that long in the first place.
Spencer broadly mentioned lower-priced devices, which could imply something akin to a subscription plan for new Xbox systems, or support for additional systems. Microsoft’s ultimate goal in doing all of this is to get put Xbox Game Pass on as many platforms as possible, reaching as many players as possible. Microsoft has been pretty clear that Game Pass is a huge part of their strategy while moving forward. All first-party Xbox games are available on launch day through the program, and now that Bethesda is under Microsoft’s wing, their games fall into that category too. Doom Eternal was put on Game Pass almost immediately after the acquisition, so we expect that future Bethesda games would be in the same boat.
A streaming stick like the one being hinted at would be in addition to Xbox Game Pass streaming on other devices, a list that iOS will be added to in 2021. It will likely use a web-based workaround to circumvent problems with the app store, what with all of its restrictive and troublesome policies. The overhauled Xbox App does let you play games by remote access now, but either way, it’s probably much better for game streaming to avoid the app store altogether, since working with it is more of a hassle.
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