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Xbox streaming stick not ready yet

For a few years, rumors have persisted that Microsoft was exploring building some form of streaming stick to offer Xbox Cloud Gaming via a more affordable dongle, similarly to Chromecast and Google Stadia. The first hint was Project Hobart. More recently, a code name "Keystone" appeared in an Xbox OS list, lending fire to rumors that Microsoft was continuing to explore additional hardware for the Xbox lineup.

We can now confirm that that is indeed true, and it pertains to a modernized HDMI streaming device that runs Xbox Game Pass and its cloud gaming service. Microsoft is, however, taking exploring additional iterations of the product before taking it to market.

In a statement provided to Windows Central, a Microsoft spokesperson described its commitment to lowering boundaries to Xbox content via low cost-hardware, while acknowledging that the existing version of Keystone needs a little more time to bake before going live.


“Our vision for Xbox Cloud Gaming is unwavering, our goal is to enable people to play the games they want, on the devices they want, anywhere they want. As announced last year, we’ve been working on a game-streaming device, codename Keystone, that could be connected to any TV or monitor without the need for a console," a Microsoft spokesperson stated.



"As part of any technical journey, we are constantly evaluating our efforts, reviewing our learnings, and ensuring we are bringing value to our customers. We have made the decision to pivot away from the current iteration of the Keystone device. We will take our learnings and refocus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to deliver Xbox Cloud Gaming to more players around the world in the future.”



From what we understand, Keystone has been in development for a couple of years, with Microsoft continuing to finalize the product's featureset.


To speculate, Keystone could eventually run some sort of slimmed-down Windows or Xbox OS, given that "Keystone" originally appeared in an OS list alongside the different Xbox platforms like "ERA" and "GameOS." Utilizing Windows instead of alternatives like Android would allow Microsoft to offer its own streaming media apps like Microsoft Movies & TV. Although, using Android OSP would potentially be a quicker route to market, leaning on apps like Netflix, and perhaps Spotify.


The exact timeline for Keystone remains unclear, but I wouldn't expect to see it any time soon — particularly not at the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase coming up on June 12.


A low-cost streaming device makes obvious sense from a business perspective, as Microsoft pushes to bring Xbox Game Pass to more households who perhaps aren't interested in owning a full-blown console. Microsoft has also previously hinted at bringing TV apps for Xbox Cloud Gaming as well, which would lower the barrier even further. Either way, I'm excited to see what "Keystone" will look like in action once it's ready.

https://www.windowscentral.com/gami...xbox-cloud-streaming-stick-codenamed-keystone
 

ManaByte

Gold Member
Summer Beer GIF by Keystone Light
 

kingfey

Banned
After fortnite crash down, I doubt they are ready for this now.

They would need time to upgrade their network infrastructure.
 
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Yeah, I don't see the point in rushing to get this out. Wait til the service is more reliable and they've got a better cadence of releases.
 

Punished Miku

Gold Member
Makes no sense to launch it without a big first party game.

Honestly, their best shot was a Starfield promo during the holiday. The thing is practically a stocking stuffer.
 

SlimySnake

Member
The Series S is their keystone. They were able to stock it during the holidays and were even outselling the PS5 earlier this year. They have reached that casual market penetration pretty much at the start of the gen without having to release a cheaper slim version or a streaming stick.

I am guessing thats why there is no rush for it.

I think the biggest hurdle for the cloud only future will be the sheer number of hardware required to run games. How many XSXs would they need to have worldwide coverage? 20 million? 50 million? If they are trying to reach hundreds of millions of gamers, they will need more than that, and producing that many consoles takes half a decade.
 

Swift_Star

Member
I'd like to buy that for the case they finally release an exclusive that interests me. It'd be better than buying a Series X just for it. We'll see.
 

Black_Stride

do not tempt fate do not contrain Wonder Woman's thighs do not do not
where would you put it
Depends on how they want to do this.
They could make it PSTV style where its a mini mini box thats powered and connects through an HDMI cable to your TV and hopefully has an ethernet port.
Or they could make it literally a stick that plugs directly to your TV HDMI and is WiFi only.
Im sure they tested making it as cheap as possible as a stick, but the power and processing requirements considering the OS overhead made the experience not great.
So likely the next version will be a small box with a more powerful processor inside and an OS to handle everything.....please have ethernet please have ethernet.
 
When they start selling these pucks, who wants to bet they call them Xbox Series Something, count them as Xbox Series console sales and suddenly decide to start sharing console sales data again?
 

jshackles

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the capability to make the world's first enhanced store. Steam will be that store. Better than it was before.
What could they be iterating on?
The biggest issue with their ecosystem right now is that not all games support cloud streaming, just (most) of the games on Game Pass. If they're going to maximize their profitability to the mass market, they need to first enable all Xbox Series X games to run "in the cloud". Until that happens, this is just going to be niche.

For example - if this released today, there would be no way for someone to plug it in, sign in with their Xbox account, and give Microsoft $60 in exchange for buying Elden Ring and start playing it.

If I had to guess, that's their biggest hold up.
 

reksveks

Member
The biggest issue with their ecosystem right now is that not all games support cloud streaming, just (most) of the games on Game Pass. If they're going to maximize their profitability to the mass market, they need to first enable all Xbox Series X games to run "in the cloud". Until that happens, this is just going to be niche.

For example - if this released today, there would be no way for someone to plug it in, sign in with their Xbox account, and give Microsoft $60 in exchange for buying Elden Ring and start playing it.

If I had to guess, that's their biggest hold up.
Just a heads up, that's a licensing and commercial issue than a technical one. It was alluded to in the Epic vs Apple case.

I think MS and other people would probably have to discussion reduced revenue splits to get it done.
 

Helghan

Member
People don't want cloud gaming. People want affordable portable consoles.
I've been traveling the past week, and will be for another two weeks. Have been cloud gaming, and love it.

It's just easy when you don't have your Xbox with you and you want to play some games. Sure not every game is suitable for streaming at the moment, but some are, and those are a lot of fun.
 
Anecdote time, but streaming works very well on my average broadband connection. Fired up Halo Infinite for shits and giggles, and it played fine with barely noticeable lag. You probably don't want to play super twitch games on it, but it works well for 95% of the games I like. I also live less than 50 miles from an Azure data center for full disclosure.

On the Streambox, if they can get this thing down to $50 without a controller it will sell like gangbusters.
 

supernova8

Member
As someone who doesn't currently own an Xbox or any Xbox controllers, I would buy it if:

1) it can do something not possible through just having an Xbox cloud app on my smart TV.
2) it's so small that it can plug into a USB slot without hanging/dangling like the Firestick unfortunately did before I had a smart TV.
3) it's bundled with an Xbox controller at a low price (for instance $10 on top at most) and if buying that bundle gave me something like a free month of Game Pass Ultimate (if I subscribe for, say, 6 months) so that it would sort of cancel out the cost of the dongle itself.

I guess (1) is most important because otherwise why bother? I could see the benefit being some sort of feature that makes the latency between the controller and receiver super low since you're already having to deal with input lag by default due to the nature of cloud streaming, but it would have to be demonstrably better.
 
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