A recent image posted by Microsoft gaming chief, Phil Spencer, showed a prototype for the Xbox game streaming box. However, Spencer is now pouring cold water on the device by saying any game cloud streaming console from Microsoft is years away.
It is clear that Microsoft sees the future of gaming as digital, and cloud-based. While the Xbox Series X supports physical games, Microsoft is throwing itself behind Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming.
While the Xbox Series S is an all-digital console, there have long been rumors that Microsoft will release a dedicated cloud gaming console. This device would be a portal into Xbox Cloud Gaming and Xbox Game Pass content.
Spencer posted a photo to Twitter recently that showed a mini Xbox-like console that appeared to be a TV streaming box. That was mostly confirmed the official Xbox account that said it was a prototype.
Vault Boy left the shelter and stopped by my office to celebrate the #Fallout25 Anniversary. Congratulations to the @Fallout @Bethesda teams on this major milestone for an iconic franchise. pic.twitter.com/hGoN1sAQRK
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) October 10, 2022
While many took that to mean an announcement was imminent, Microsoft's Gaming CEO now says otherwise. In fact, Spencer tells The Wall Street Journal's Tech Live conference that the device is “years away”.
“Keystone was the codename of something we were incubating internally, which was … a streaming console, so there's no local gameplay, low-cost, plug it into a TV, and you'd be able to stream Xbox games,” says Spencer. “In the late spring, we pivoted to working with Samsung. We put an app on Samsung TVs that let you play Xbox games, and I still have the prototype; it sits on the shelf behind my computer.”
Microsoft has already discussed Keystone and even said last year that it would launch a streaming device. It now seems that is not the case, at least not for the time being:
“Will we do a streaming device at some point? I suspect we will, but I think it's years away,” says Spencer.
Spencer does not offer a reason why Microsoft is waiting. However, I think it could simply be down to the fact the Xbox Series consoles are early cycle. Microsoft may not want to take sales steam from its consoles by launching a (presumably) more affordable cloud alternative.
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