Even though the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are selling out faster than retailers can restock them, Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate seems like the real star of the show lately. And Microsoft has now confirmed it is working on new hardware for its cloud gaming service.
Just before its big E3 showcase, Microsoft has announced that Xbox Game Pass’ streaming features will soon be available on even more devices: smart TVs, streaming players and even Xbox consoles themselves. The company is even working on its own Xbox streaming device, presumably for gamers who are unwilling to drop hundreds of dollars on a new console — or thousands on a new PC.
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The information comes from the official Xbox Wire blog, where Editor in Chief Will Tuttle gave us a short preview of some topics we’ll hear about on Sunday, June 13. That’s when Xbox and Bethesda will show off their latest games at tech at this year’s online-only E3 convention. While the Xbox Wire post doesn’t discuss any new games, it does confirm that Microsoft has some new gaming hardware in the works.
“Xbox is working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Xbox experience directly into internet-connected televisions with no extra hardware required except a controller,” Tuttle wrote. “Xbox is building its own streaming devices for cloud gaming to reach gamers on any TV or monitor without the need for a console at all.”
While we don’t have any specific details about which TV manufacturers will incorporate Xbox apps, or what an Xbox streaming device might look like, the bottom line is pretty clear. Sometime in the near future, the Xbox cloud gaming experience — which is currently available on Android, and in closed beta on iOS and Windows 10 — will be available on a wider variety of devices.
The bigger news, of course, is that Microsoft is working on an Xbox streaming device, although that’s the full extent of the information we have on it at the moment. Perhaps Microsoft will talk more about it on Sunday, or perhaps it’s a “down the road” project that we’ll hear more about later this year.
“In the next few weeks, cloud gaming on the browser will open to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. With Edge, Chrome and Safari support, players will be a click away from gaming on almost any device,” Tuttle continued. “Later this year, we’ll add cloud gaming directly into the Xbox app on PC and integrate it into our console experience to light up scenarios like try before you download.”
Tom’s Guide had a chance to test the Xbox cloud gaming beta on Windows 10 and iOS recently. While the Windows 10 experience was enjoyable, the iOS experience was not. Still, it seems that Microsoft has worked out most of the bugs, and will expand Xbox cloud gaming functionality to a variety of new platforms shortly. This means that by summer 2021, Xbox Game Pass subscribers will be able to play hundreds of Xbox games on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series X, PC, Mac, Android and iOS.
Bringing Xbox cloud gaming to Xbox consoles is also an interesting proposition. In theory, Xbox consoles are already powerful enough to run anything included in Xbox Game Pass. That could change, however, as developers begin to optimize games for Xbox Series X, and the Xbox One starts to fall by the wayside. This could also help the Xbox Series S stay current, if games ever become too demanding for Microsoft’s less powerful system.
For more information, tune into the Xbox and Bethesda E3 showcase, which will air on Twitch, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook at 1 PM ET, June 13.
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