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Microsoft’s Xbox Streaming Stick Takes a Confusing Turn

A mockup of the Xbox streaming stick.
Steve Heap/Shutterstock.com (Modified)

It’s been nearly a full year since Microsoft announced its plan to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to smart TVs. And while I thought it’d be exciting to learn about the Xbox streaming stick, a new statement from Microsoft just leaves me confused. It’s like I’ve forgotten how to read.

Update, 6/9/22: Microsoft will roll out the Xbox App to select Samsung TVs in late June. In time, this app will arrive on Roku, Android TV, and other platforms. We still don’t know when the Xbox streaming stick will come out, though.

Let me give you some context. In June of 2021, Microsoft confirmed that it was developing an Xbox streaming stick for low-cost cloud gaming. Customers could simply buy the streaming stick, sign up for Game Pass, and enjoy hundreds of wonderful games through the power of the internet. A dedicated Game pass app for smart TVs was also in the works.

This streaming stick is codenamed “Keystone,” according to data published by Tero Alhonen on May 9th. So, Windows Central reached out to ask Microsoft about the “Keystone” codename. And Microsoft provided a very poetic response.

“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 stated.

So, Microsoft confirmed the “Keystone” codename; that’s awesome. But the company’s statement continues to talk about the streaming stick’s future … or its lack of a future—I’m not really sure what any of the following statement means.

“As part of any technical journey, we are constantly evaluating our efforts, reviewing our learnings, and ensuring we are bringing value to our customers. We have made the decision to pivot away from the current iteration of the Keystone device. 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.”

The most important part of this statement, aside from the fact that Microsoft is doing something with its “learnings,” is that the company is pivoting away from the “current iteration” of its Keystone streaming stick.

Best case scenario, Microsoft is trying to tell us that the streaming stick is delayed because it needs extra development. It took a long time for Xbox Cloud Gaming to arrive on mobile phones and browsers, so this delay would make sense (especially if Microsoft is simultaneously working on a smart TV app, which would need to work on a ton of different underpowered products).

But Microsoft could be reconsidering its entire approach here—maybe dongles and smart TV apps aren’t attractive to the company anymore. Although I don’t see why that would be the case.

We’ll just have to wait for more info. Microsoft could explain itself during the Xbox and Bethesda Game Showcase on June 12th, so I suggest keeping this story in the back of your mind for a few weeks.

Source: Windows Central

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »