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Microsoft has had their “Project Keystone” in the works for some time. Behind this is an affordable way to access the world of Xbox gaming via XCloud: the Xbox Cloud Streaming Stick.
As confirmed by WindowsCentral, “Project Keystone” is in fact a “modernized HDMI streaming device running Xbox Game Pass and its cloud gaming service.” Microsoft is currently researching it before it comes to market.
“Our vision for Xbox cloud gaming is unwavering, our goal is to enable people to play the games they want, on the devices they want, wherever they want,” a Microsoft spokesperson told WindowsCentral. “As announced last year, we’ve been working on a game streaming device, codenamed Keystone, that plugs into any TV or monitor without the need for a console.”
Xbox Cloud Streaming Stick: The Pros and Cons
The most positive point of the matter: The cost of entry into the world of Xbox gaming will be much lower than buying a gaming console. Since the launch of the Xbox Series, there has been a trend towards the cheaper S model. It is questionable whether this is due to the lack of availability of the “high-class” Xbox Series X, since the shortage of semiconductors is primarily limiting the range of more powerful hardware.
With a stick that you connect to the TV via USB, you don’t need any space in the showcase. It’s quick to set up, you probably just have to register/create your Xbox account and establish a good internet connection via (W-)LAN. And you’ll quickly find yourself in a multiplayer round of Halo Infinite or Fortnite. That’s the plan so far. Microsoft’s “findings” make an Xbox Stick release a long way off.
Cloud gaming not for the mainstream?
“We have made the decision to move away from the current iteration of the Keystone device. We will leverage what we have learned and focus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to bring Xbox cloud gaming to more gamers around the world in the future,” a Microsoft spokesperson told WindowsCentral.
If you try to translate this statement, it comes across like this: We know it works, but not the way we want it to. – It is possible that the topic of a permanently stable good internet connection will still be a problem in 2022 – which is known all too well in Austria and Germany.
What makes the Xbox Stick different from Google Stadia and Co?
It hasn’t been confirmed, but speculation has it that “Keystone” could run some kind of “slimmed down Windows or Xbox operating system”. The term originally appeared in a March 2022 operating system list alongside the various Xbox platforms such as “ERAOS” and “GameOS”.
XBOX KEYSTONE pic.twitter.com/warAwisfKh
– Tero Alhonen💙💛 (@teroalhonen) March 9, 2022
The fact that the stick uses Windows instead of Android could be another advantage for Microsoft: A dedicated streaming media center for TV sets. Many older televisions could thus be upgraded to become the ultimate Smart TV. This would finally give Microsoft its “all in one” solution, as it did way too early in 2013 with the Xbox One.
By the way, rumors about the rumored Xbox streaming stick have been around since 2016. Similar to Chromecast, a device for Xbox games should come onto the market. But you could have streamed your own Xbox One console with it. What we’re talking about now is a cloud solution that gives you access to the Xbox Game Pass library even without your own console.
What would you need? The stick and an Xbox controller. This is another way of counteracting the ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips by locating the computing power somewhere else.
When will the Xbox Stick actually appear? Probably not for the next 3 years (so our assessment).