Additionally, Microsoft is teasing a streaming stick’s launch to carry its cloud gaming service towards TVs.
If you’ve been out of the loop, Microsoft’s cloud gaming service is part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service.
Microsoft cloud gaming possibly coming to TVs
So far, the world is missing a service that’s able to stream games on a TV. Being able to play Doom Eternal on your Android phone is great, sure, but how about a 40” LED TV?
For instance, when the new Chromecast came out, Google surprised everyone by not including Stadia as part of the device. You can still stream games to a TV through the device, but there are a few hoops you have to pass first.
Further reports by Window Central reveal Microsoft is working on a dongle similar to the Chromecast. Windows Central explains they were to show the device on E3 2016, but it failed back then. Four years forward, it might be functional.
The dongle would be Microsoft’s take on streaming games to the TV. By plugging the device into any TV, you could stream any Xbox Game Pass title. That means the company¿s servers would take care of the rendering, whereas you take care of the broadband.
You can already play xCloud on your TV by “casting” your phone towards the bigger screen. However, it lowers the quality and creates some latency issues.
“I think you’re going to see lower-priced hardware as part of our ecosystem when you think about streaming sticks and other things that somebody might want to just go plug into their TV and go play via xCloud.” – Phil Spencer.
The streaming dongle solution
At the same time, though, it seems Microsoft is not kin to the idea of other companies selling smart TVs with the Xbox Game Pass app ready to go. Instead of, say, a Samsung Smart TV prepared to play by logging into the app, Microsoft prefers selling you a separate dongle.
However, that solution would exclude non-smart TVs from the equation. A non-smart TV would still need a separate dongle to download apps.
Still, it’s not clear what Xbox is doing. Let’s wait until Phil Spencer shares more details on planning to carry Game Pass towards TVs.
Maybe Microsoft will launch both Smart TV-ready apps plus streaming dongles. It would be the consumer-friendly option for a company already known for its consumer-friendly solutions.
xCloud runs on 720p instead of 1080p or 4K.
Xbox Game Pass Platinum membership tier
During an interview with Stratechery, Spencer talked about the possibility of the Platinum membership. It would allow users to stream xCloud games on TVs by merely plugging the console.
The new membership tier would launch by Holidays 2020. The Platinum club would give users access to new Xbox hardware, which may include, for example, peripherals and games. For instance, it could give access to the streaming stick.
There’s already a comprehensive bundle in place, though. The Xbox All Access -about $25 a month- gives you 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. On top of that, it’s a financing option for the Xbox Series X.
It appears that Microsoft is working on further game services on top of the Platinum tier.
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xCloud is already terrific on Android phones. Many people consider it the best deal in gaming history, ever. Not only that, but it’s burying Google Stadia with its unattractive price points.
On Microsoft’s side, though, xCloud already carries amazing AAA games like The Witcher 3 or Wastelanders 3. It also has Xbox exclusives, even on release day. And it brings many hidden jewels you need to discover, like the Ori franchise. And, of course, Doom Eternal (but without the DLC).
Taking xCloud to TVs only makes it better. Most people would prefer playing on their TV rather than the small screen on a smartphone. And it would still save you the cost of the full console.