Microsoft’s Xbox gaming division has seen a massive overhaul in the past few years, going from a gaming console maker with a handful of exclusives to a platform that includes 23 in-house gaming studios and a cloud game streaming service that is ever-expanding. Today, in a blog post touting the various benefits of its Xbox Game Pass subscription, the firm also detailed some of the work it is doing to further expand the reach of its cloud gaming service.
First of the announcements is that the Redmond firm is working with TV manufacturers to integrate the “Xbox experience” natively into smart TVs and “internet-connected” TVs, allowing users to leverage their Game Pass subscriptions for cloud gaming on their TV without dedicated streaming hardware, likely by hooking the television up to an Xbox controller.
However, the more interesting announcement – though vague and incomplete – is that the firm is working on dedicated streaming devices for use on TVs and monitors, negating the need for those displays to be smart displays. This will expand the reach of the firm’s Game Pass Ultimate subscription to users that do not own gaming PCs or consoles but would want to experience their games on displays larger than that of a smartphone.
This isn’t the first time that the company has considered building a streaming stick sort of a device. The firm was rumored to have readied a Chromecast-like streaming device back in 2016 that was codenamed Hobart, but canceled it right before that year’s E3 event. With the company now saying that it is in the “final stages” of upgrading its data centers with the latest Xbox Series S|X consoles – leveraging the new hardware for better performance –, it might find the time right to expand its cloud gaming service to more users. Speaking about expanding the service, cloud gaming through Game Pass Ultimate is heading to Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan later this year.
The Redmond company also announced today that it will be opening up cloud gaming on the browser for all users in the next few weeks, bringing the service to Edge, Chrome, and Safari users on the PC and (finally) on iOS. For those waiting for a native solution, the firm says that it will be adding cloud gaming directly in the Xbox app for PCs, something that it promised late last year. It adds that it will integrate the experience into its consoles for what it calls a “try before you download” scenario. It is also working on “new subscription offerings for Xbox Game Pass”, though it doesn’t detail what they would be and what benefits it might offer.
Lastly, the firm says that it will “unveil [its] best and biggest games lineup” at its first-ever Xbox and Bethesda joint event on Sunday. It also adds that it aims to release at least one new first-party game into Game Pass every quarter, thanks to the 23 game studios working on offerings worldwide. You can tune into the Xbox and Bethesda Game Showcase on Sunday, 13 June, at 10 AM PT.