Microsoft has hinted it is working on a TV streaming stick that will allow users to play Xbox video games via its cloud game streaming service xCloud.
The details came in a Stratechery interview with Xbox boss Phil Spencer, who elaborated on the company’s plans to make gaming on its platform more affordable.
“I think you’re going to see lower-priced hardware as part of our ecosystem when you think about streaming sticks and other things that somebody might want to just go plug into their TV and go play via xCloud,” Spencer said.
“You could imagine us even having something that we just included in the Game Pass subscription that gave you an ability to stream xCloud games to your TV and buying the controller,” he added.
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.
That console carries a price tag of R11,999 in South Africa, nearly double the initial launch price of the Xbox One.
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.
The xCloud service is currently available on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, allowing users to stream more than 150 games to Android smartphones or tablets.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is currently priced at R149, although the xCloud streaming feature is not yet supported in South Africa.
Cloud gaming on the rise
Cloud gaming is set for huge growth in the next few years, according to analysis from Newzoo.
The research firm’s Global Cloud Gaming Report has estimated that cloud gaming generated a total of $158 million in 2019.
This is set to increase to $590 million in 2020, $1.27 billion in 2021, $2.21 billion in 2022, and $3.2 billion by 2023.
Several other tech heavyweights have launched their own cloud gaming services – including Google, Nvidia, Sony, and most recently, Amazon.