For a number of years, rumors have persisted that Microsoft is exploring developing some form of live streaming of Xbox cloud games via a cheaper dongle, similar to Chromecast and Google Stadia. It was the first tip of the Hobart project. Recently codenamed “Keystone” The back in the Xbox OS menu, leading to rumors that Microsoft is still investigating additional hardware for the Xbox line.
We can now confirm that this is indeed true, and it’s a modern HDMI streaming device that supports Xbox Game Pass and the cloud gaming service. However, Microsoft is studying more iterations of the product before launching it.
In a statement to Windows Central, a Microsoft spokesperson detailed its commitment to lowering Xbox content limits on low-cost hardware, while acknowledging that the current version of Keystone needs more baking time before going live.
“Our vision for Xbox cloud gaming is consistent, and our goal is to enable people to play the games they want, on the devices they want, wherever they want. As announced last year, we’ve been working on a game streaming device, codenamed Keystone, that plugs into any TV or display without a console,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.
“As part of any technology journey, we constantly evaluate our efforts, review what we’ve learned, and make sure we’re delivering value to our customers. We’ve made the decision to move away from the current iteration of Keystone. We will take advantage of the learning and focus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to bring Xbox cloud gaming to more players. around the world in the future.”
As far as we know, Keystone has been in development for two years while Microsoft continues to complete the product’s feature set.
Speculation has it that Keystone could eventually run some sort of Windows or thin Xbox OS, since “Keystone” originally appeared in the list of operating systems along with various Xbox platforms such as “ERA” and “GameOS.” Using Windows instead of alternatives like Android would allow Microsoft to offer its own streaming media apps like Microsoft Movies & TV. Although using Android OSP can be a faster way to market, it relies on apps like Netflix and possibly Spotify.
The exact timeline for Keystone is still unclear, but I don’t expect to see it anytime soon – especially not in Xbox and Bethesda Showcase, which is coming June 12th.
The low-cost streaming device makes business sense as Microsoft pushes to make Xbox Game Pass available to more families who may not be interested in owning a full console. As Microsoft has previously indicated, files from TV apps for Xbox cloud gaming will also be brought along, which will lower the barrier even further.