Imagine, for a moment, that you could play Halo Infinite without the need for a computer or Xbox? Well, Microsoft may be thinking along those same lines. Reports claim that Microsoft will release a streaming device that will allow players to access the Game Pass Ultimate library, along with movies and TV services.
The device will apparently be similar to either Amazon’s Fire Stick or will arrive in a small box shape. So a Chromecast for video games, basically. This means all you’d need is a TV with a working HDMI port, a more-than-decent internet connection, a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and you’re all set. We’ll need to wait for Microsoft to officially confirm these reports before we get a release window, though it’s expected to hit shelves sometime in the next twelve months. Whether those shelves are in South Africa is a completely different question.
What chip shortage?
No news has been shown on what specs we could expect from this thing just yet. It may follow in the steps of Xbox Cloud Gaming, which offers 1080p at 60fps as the standard. If this is the case, the streaming device could be a great option for those looking for a more casual experience.
Samsung TV owners may want to listen up too. Microsoft is apparently working closely with Samsung to bring a dedicated app version of the streaming service to the brand’s television lineup. If this happens, Samsung owners will be that much closer to playing Xbox games at a fraction of the cost.
From a business standpoint, this would make sense for Microsoft. With both Sony and Microsoft feeling the recent chip shortage, increased focus on a streaming service would seem the next logical step. Players get to play without struggling to locate a hard-to-source console, and Sony and Microsoft get to move games even further into the cloud.
Whether or not Microsoft sticks to the rumored schedule of twelve months, we’ll have to see. Microsoft’s track record suggests it doesn’t always stick to the plan. In November of 2020, the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, said we’d be getting an Xbox streaming app over the following year. Well, it’s now May of 2022, and we still haven’t heard anything new. It’s possible that Xbox decided to delay the app in lieu of plans to release a physical device.
There’s also the question of whether we’d ever see an Xbox streaming device launch in South Africa. It might be that this is just for the internationals. PlayStation Now and Google’s ill-fated Stadia game-streaming services have yet to turn up in SA. Nor has Xbox Cloud Gaming. We’re unlikely to see any game-streaming kit in this country until those services turn up. Pity.