According to Xbox leadership, Microsoft is working on an Xbox TV app, in order to try and make the service more widely available across the world. This is part of its effort to make Xbox games more accessible through its xCloud streaming technology. In addition to this, Microsoft is also planning on launching its own dedicated xCloud streaming stick.
When Will the Xbox TV App and xCloud Streaming Stick Release?
Just days before Microsoft takes to center stage at E3 2021, multiple executives from the company sat down to talk about the company's plans for the Xbox brand going forward. The pre-recorded media briefing saw, among others, Phil Spencer (Xbox Head) and Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft), talk about the strides that Game Pass and Azure have made in recent years.
Some of the biggest news dropped during the sit-down include the Xbox TV app and the xCloud streaming stick.
These aren't necessarily the names of the app that Xbox is currently working on closely with global TV manufacturers. However, it is now confirmed that Microsoft wants to make Xbox games more widely available via its xCloud streaming platform. On top of this, Microsoft is building its own video game streaming stick, presumably for those who don't want to spend on a new TV set just to enjoy the Xbox TV app.
Here are some of the highlights of what Spencer and the others talked about:
- Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will be able to play their favorite xCloud games via browsers like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari, in the next few weeks.
- Microsoft's data centers are currently undergoing a next-gen upgrade. Microsoft expects this to be finished in the next couple of weeks. Once this is done, xCloud players will enjoy faster loader times, higher frame rates, and better-optimized games soon.
- xCloud will be made available for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers in Japan, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia later this year.
- Microsoft is also going to integrate xCloud directly onto the PC's Xbox app. It also plans on making cloud features more conveniently available on Xbox consoles.
- At the moment, Microsoft is considering making multiple Xbox Game Pass tiers to make the subscription service more accessible to players around the world.
- Microsoft is planning on expanding its Xbox All Access program. This program makes it easier for gamers to purchase a new Xbox Series console along with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. It starts at $25 a month for 2 years. The program is only limited to a select few retailers, including GameStop, Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and Microsoft itself.
- Microsoft wants to take advantage of its treasure trove of studios and IPs. This includes its most recent acquisition, ZeniMax Media. The company wants to release at least one new first-party title on the Xbox Game Pass library every three months.
It'll be interesting to see how Microsoft's strategy going forward will fare. In comparison to Sony's more traditional console path, Microsoft is doubling down on a strategy that it started way back in 2013 for the Xbox One. The only difference now is that Microsoft can easily pitch a console that's always online and cloud-based gaming. This is because of the massive improvements in broadband networks and services over the years.
For now, we can look forward to Microsoft making an appearance at E3 2021 on June 13. Many are expecting Microsoft's showcase to be the biggest draw of E3 2021, with Nintendo's own showcase on June 15 coming in as a close second.