Xbox Head Teases "TV Streaming Sticks", New Game Pass Tier

Yolanda Curtis
October 25, 2020

Speaking to Stratechery, (via The Verge) Spencer spoke about the possibility of using TV streaming sticks for xCloud. Soon we could also have a streaming stick dedicated to xCloud gaming.

While a TV streaming stick would likely be a far cheaper device, it would still require an uncapped Internet connection to be suitable for game streaming. According to Windows Central's report, prior to E3 2016 Xbox was going to launch a Chromecast-like dongle codenamed "Hobart". In the interview, Spencer commented on the expanding future of the xCloud project and the possibilities of the Xbox Game Pass with it.

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-priced alternative to an Xbox console is likely to disrupt any projections those other companies had. However, to get the service where Spencer and the company want, it needs to be expanded. This tiers costs $14.99 per month and Microsoft will probably want to extend availability across more tiers. Currently, an xCloud subscription requires an Android smartphone along with an Xbox controller.

Now, Spencer is suggesting that Microsoft could introduce an "Xbox Game Pass Platinum" which would guarantee access to an Xbox console on top of a Game Pass subscription.

Such a move could see Microsoft gain a bigger audience among those who are not interested or are unable to put down a large amount for a gaming console like the next-generation Xbox Series X.

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has hinted at a possible, new tier for Xbox Game Pass that could allow access for Xbox hardware along the way, and that hardware could be a USB stick to stream games on a compatible TV. "I feel good about the solution we have", says Spencer. The Xbox Game Pass rivals the Xbox Series X|S in sheer hype, and Microsoft announced in September (in a press release about its acquisition of Bethesda Softworks) that the service had reached a milestone of 15 million subscribers - and that was before adding Bethesda's properties to the mix.

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