Xbox Working With TV Manufacturers, Building Streaming Devices, and More to Bring Game Pass Everywhere

June 11, 2021

Microsoft's gaming future doesn't focus solely on just games consoles — something that has become abundantly clear following a recent Xbox press briefing. Speaking to the media in a pre-recorded video ahead of the Xbox E3 event on Sunday (5pm GMT), Xbox head Phil Spencer and a host of other executives discussed everything from Cloud gaming, to TV integration with Game Pass at its core.

Actively working with TV manufacturers, Xbox wants to "embed" its Netflix-like gaming service into internet connected television, requiring nothing more than a  controller and a Game Pass subscription to play. Further to this, the company is also building its own streaming devices to bring cloud gaming via Game Pass to even more homes "without the need for a console at all". A Chromecast-style Xbox device that allows game streaming on any TV or monitor with an HDMI port and an internet connection is quite the proposition. 

And that's exactly the point. Xbox's new model is to make its games as accessible as possible. The company even plans to expand its All Access subscription packages to suit varying "geographies and financial realities". Xbox is even in talks with telecommunications companies about expanding this offering.

That isn’t to say additional hardware isn’t on the cards though. Liz Hamren, CVP of Gaming Experiences & Platforms wanted to make it clear that Microsoft is still very much in the hardware game:

“We're already hard at work on new hardware and platforms, some of which won't come to light for years. But even as we build for the future, we're focused on extending the Xbox experience to more devices today so we can reach more people."

It’s clear that the Xbox strategy is to augment the traditional hardware release model with more options, backed by Game Pass and Cloud Gaming. Xbox plans to further expand its Cloud Gaming with plans for a browser based system for Game Pass Ultimate subscribers compatible with Edge, Chrome and Safari web browsers. This comes alongside news of Microsoft updating its worldwide data centres with the Xbox Series X. This would make Xbox Series games playable via the cloud, plus “faster load times; improved frame rates”.

The final announcement was a more straightforward one — by Xbox’s current standards — a desktop app for cloud gaming will also be launched for PC, with plans to bring it to their consoles as well, offering a ‘stream before you download’ type option for players.

Details on how this all rolls out were not made available. However, the ever affordable Game Pass is available for as little as £7.99 a month and making access even easier would surely see subscriber numbers climb even further than the 18 million users it boasted (per Eurogamer) as of January.

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Ant Barlow

Started with the PlayStation, now I'm here... with a PlayStation. Once skipped school to play the Metal Gear Solid demo repeatedly. I love stories big and small. Trophy hunter. Recent VR convert. Probably a hipster.