Microsoft has busied itself battling Sony and Nintendo in the gaming space. The giant company is now shoring up its Game Pass streaming service and focusing on Xbox as a brand as well as a line of home video game devices.
Anyone with a Windows PC can access many of the same games that home console owners use. The Seattle-based tech giant is doubling down on this approach with its newest streaming device, which reports indicate will function in the same way as a Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick.
VentureBeat reported that Microsoft could unveil the new streaming-only device in the next twelve months. It’s worth noting that the device sounds extremely similar to Google’s Stadia platform, a streaming-only game service that allows users to play video games in 4K resolution without any hardware aside from a web browser page or a Chromecast.
This device, if it’s real, would signal that Microsoft is embracing a move to broaden its Xbox audience beyond consoles. Streaming games to TVs without the use of hardware is a futuristic-sounding way to make everyone a gamer, keeping the costs down for people who don’t care about owning a console.
The idea behind game streaming is easy to get behind. It’s tough to convince someone to spend $300 or more on a console, but it’s much easier to sell them a $30 streaming stick. Then, they can use their own controller to connect to their Wi-Fi device and control the game that streams right to their TV.
Google’s Stadia service already delivers on this promise. Despite the lukewarm reception to Stadia when it launched in 2020, the service does exactly what it promises to do: it allows players to enjoy next-gen quality gameplay without investing in any hardware beyond a controller and a Chromecast device.
This is a compelling piece of technology for people who fall in the intersection of serious gamers with good internet connections and casual gamers who don’t want to own expensive hardware. However, Stadia’s biggest drawback is that it expects players to pay full price to access games through streaming only. This is a huge demand they’re asking of players.
Microsoft’s streaming service will likely sidestep this by offering players games through their existing Game Pass subscription model. If this is the case, it’ll be hard to beat the value proposition of buying an inexpensive streaming stick and a $10 Game Pass subscription to play hundreds of games for the lowest possible buy-in.