Move over consoles, Microsoft will now develop Xbox streaming sticks
It is no secret that the availability of gaming consoles including the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X has taken a hit due to the ongoing global chip shortage. Now, to salvage the situation, Xbox head Phil Spencer and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hinted that gamers will be able to play Xbox titles with just a controller and streaming device, sans the console.
Xbox Game Pass could be integrated into new smart TVs
In the briefing, Nadella and Spencer remarked that the Game Pass and Azure are performing well. So, the company will now push the cloud gaming strategy onward with new strategies. Xbox is collaborating with smart TV manufacturers to integrate Game Pass in upcoming products. So, with a high-speed internet connection, gamers will be able to stream games from cloud providers that handle processing duties.
Game streaming, new subscription plans coming to more countries soon
Since the resource-intensive processing is handled by cloud providers, game streaming services eliminate the need for each gamer to have a console. Microsoft mentioned that the game streaming service will be launched in more countries including Japan, Australia, Brazil, and Mexico later this year, accompanied by new subscription plans. Additionally, cloud gaming will be integrated into the Xbox app for PC.
Xbox game streaming stick in the works, release timeline unclear
In fact, Spencer had teased a plug-in game streaming stick late last year. Think of it as Amazon's Fire TV stick, but for streaming games to any display it is plugged into. Meanwhile, Microsoft CVP of Gaming Experiences and Platforms Elizabeth Hamren said that such devices are also being developed. However, a release timeline hasn't been revealed yet.
Microsoft is also updating underlying servers for better streaming experience
In the coming weeks, all 18 million Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will get access to browser-based streaming. Engadget reported that for starters, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Apple's Safari browser will be supported. Microsoft is also upgrading its data centers that are powered by blade servers based on Xbox One S consoles. The updated server blades will rely on the Xbox Series consoles.
Xbox exploring new affordable Game Pass subscription models
Xbox is reportedly mulling over the idea of new Game Pass subscription tiers that make the service more affordable. The company also plans to expand the Xbox All Access Program using which one can buy a Game Pass Ultimate subscription and a new Xbox Series console for $25 per month spread over a span of two years.
Xbox plans to release a new first-party title every quarter
Speaking of games, the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase begins on June 13. The event is expected to include new game trailers from first-party and third-party studios. Microsoft also plans to release a new first-party game title every quarter for its Game Pass library. It intends to do so with the help of Microsoft-owned game development studios such as Bethesda, id Software, and Arkane.