Microsoft has officially lent credence to years-long speculation of standalone game streaming hardware from the Xbox maker — reports Windows Central.
Project Hobart first sparked rumours of a planned expansion of the Xbox lineup beyond just game consoles. More recently, code references to “Keystone” spotted in an Xbox OS list pointed to Microsoft exploring its own take on a streaming stick or dongle for Xbox Cloud Gaming, a product similar to Chromecast or Google Stadia.
Microsoft confirmed in a statement to Windows Central that the company has been working on an HDMI streaming device that can run Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming on “any TV or monitor without the need for a console.”
“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, anywhere they want. As announced last year, we’ve been working on a game-streaming device, codename Keystone, that could be connected to any TV or monitor without the need for a console,” a Microsoft spokesperson told the publication.
Microsoft did not provide a release timeline for this fabled device. Don’t expect it anytime soon, especially considering the company said it’s not satisfied with the current iteration of Keystone and will be going back to the drawing board with everything it has learned so far.
“We have made the decision to pivot away from the current iteration of the Keystone device,” the spokesperson added. “We will take our learnings and refocus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to deliver Xbox Cloud Gaming to more players around the world in the future.”
Whether this new device will be powered by Xbox OS, a lighter version of Windows, or something else entirely remains to be seen.
Xbox Cloud Gaming is more viable than ever before, especially since the cloud gaming service received a performance bump late last year when Microsoft transitioned it to custom Xbox Series X hardware.
A low-cost game streaming device would be ideal for customers looking for Xbox gaming on the cheap or ones that don’t want a full-fledged game console in their entertainment unit. It would make sense for Microsoft to add content streaming platforms and TV apps to the device to make it a more complete entertainment solution.
Earlier this month, Microsoft partnered with Epic Games to bring Fortnite back to iPhones and iPads by making it available on supported browser-enabled devices for free with Xbox Cloud Gaming.