Report: Xbox Keystone may be positioned as a cloud-powered console in 2023

A concept image of Xbox Keystone
A concept render of Xbox Keystone

A couple of months ago, we learned some more details about Xbox Keystone, Microsoft's upcoming hardware that will power game-streaming. Microsoft confirmed that it is still working on the device, but the first internal iteration has been shelved. Today, we have found out some additional details about the current solution in development.

Windows Central reports that Keystone will be positioned more as a home console powered by the cloud, rather than being a "streaming stick". The version currently under development is roughly an inch thick and has a square form factor. The report describes it as being "similar to the top of an Xbox Series X shaved off". This would make it the smallest Xbox console if it launches in its current physical state.

The expectation is for Keystone to primarily run Xbox Game Pass Ultimate's cloud gaming solution through a stripped down version of Windows, but we might see other media-streaming solutions like Netflix, Disney+, and Microsoft Movies & TV bundled too.

In terms of connectivity, expect USB ports to attach peripherals. For internet, Keystone will likely have an Ethernet port and Wi-Fi 5. Although Wi-Fi 6 offers improvements, it's not really necessary for 1080p60 gaming so supporting it might needlessly inflate the price. It's unclear if Microsoft will target 4K streaming through Keystone at launch.

The report also speculates that Microsoft may be working on a solution that could allow you to stream any game that you digitally purchase through the Xbox Store. This would be possible through Xbox Cloud Gaming but there might be licensing hurdles in the process since the service isn't just for Keystone, but covers other mobile platforms with their own billing mechanisms too.

Finally, the report notes that Keystone could be priced at $99 with the $15/month for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate being an additional cost. It will likely only be available in regions where Xbox Cloud Gaming is supported and could arrive in 2023, depending upon how long it takes for Microsoft to define and refine Keystone's feature set.

Source and image via: Windows Central

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