Editor’s note: A few weeks after this story was published, Microsoft confirmed that it working on a dongle that will turn any TV into an Xboxallowing you to stream select Xbox games.
Microsoft is reportedly about to release a streaming stick that can play Xbox Game Pass Ultimate games on any device with an HDMI port and an internet connection.
There have long been rumors that the company is working on such a device, which would allow those without a console or other compatible hardware to continue playing the best Xbox Series X games.
Indeed, development of the device is believed to have been underway since at least 2021, when it was mentioned in passing (opens in a new tab) during a panel discussion at E3. And now we have a release window – albeit wide.
GamesBeat (opens in a new tab) reports that the streaming stick will arrive within the next 12 months and will come in the form of an Amazon Fire TV-style stick or a Google Chromecast-style puck that clips into a spare HDMI port on your TV or monitor.
In addition to supporting games through an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, the streaming device would also allow owners to access TV and movies, likely through apps from the usual suspects Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, etc
Obviously, this will involve a modest outlay (probably around $50, judging by the price of the best streaming devices), but Samsung TV owners might be able to skip it altogether. The report adds that Microsoft is working closely with its partners at Samsung to develop an Xbox streaming app for the company’s TVs, and that too is expected within the next 12 months.
A one-year window obviously takes us to 2023, but there’s a chance something lands much sooner than that. Earlier this year, the XboxEra Podcast predicted new, unspecified Xbox hardware to be coming this year and at the time, we considered a streaming stick to be the likeliest of the possibilities.
While a dedicated streaming stick might be of little interest to hardcore Xbox fans who already have dedicated hardware to play games locally, it could be a big development for the industry as a whole. There are plenty of people who might be gamers, but are averse to dropping hundreds of dollars on console hardware. Letting them play the same games as those with their own Xboxes opens up a whole new market.
In other words, even those who own an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S should rejoice in this development. A new Game Pass Ultimate subscriber market should mean bigger budgets and ultimately more games for everyone. Here’s hoping the hardware is just as transformative as the first Chromecast when it was released in 2013.