Xbox Could Offer Streaming Stick For Game Pass Subscribers

The device would let you stream games to your TV without needing a console.

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In addition to streaming for your phones, tablets, and (eventually) your PC and Xbox consoles, Microsoft could be offering a dedicated streaming stick that comes free with a Game Pass subscription. All you would need is a TV and a controller to start playing your favorite Xbox games.

Speaking to Stratechery (via The Verge), head of Xbox Phil Spencer didn't outright confirm such a device is coming, but he very heavily hinted at it. We wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft has something ready to go in 2021 after the holiday rush and the initial launch of Xbox Series X and Series S.

"You could imagine us even having something that we just included in the Game Pass subscription that gives you an ability to stream xCloud games to your television and buying a controller," Spencer said.

This could be similar to what Google Stadia allows via its Chromecast Ultra stick, and it would be ideal for anyone who wants a console-style Xbox experience but doesn't have the need or the space for a traditional system. Stadia has tried this already, but its subscription model and slow rollout of features haven't helped its sluggish start. The service does have Google's own first-party studios behind it to develop games. However, it's likely going to still be a few years before we really see the fruits of their labor, and Stadia may not be able to wait that long.

Spencer mentioned lower-priced devices more broadly, as well, which could mean a subscription plan for new systems as they release or support on additional systems. Microsoft's ultimate goal is to get Xbox Game Pass on everything, reaching billions of players. It has made no secret that Game Pass is an enormous part of its strategy going forward. All first-party Xbox games are available on launch day through the program, and now that Bethesda has been purchased by Microsoft, that also includes its games. Following the acquisition, Doom Eternal was almost immediately announced for Xbox Game Pass. We expect other Bethesda games will follow suit.

A stick like this would be in addition to Xbox Game Pass streaming on other devices, and iOS will be added to that list in 2021. It sounds like it will use a web-based workaround to avoid the App Store, which has restrictive policies that would have complicated playing multiple games via streaming. The recently overhauled Xbox iOS app does let you play games via remote play on your phone. However, the store is no longer available via the app. You can't claim Xbox Games With Gold through the app, either, despite the older app allowing you to.

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