With E3 just a few days away, Microsoft announced that it is currently working on an Xbox Game Pass streaming stick and a Game Pass app for smart TVs. These platforms will allow customers to play the entire Game Pass library without an Xbox console, so long as their internet is fast enough to handle game streaming.
One of the most exciting things about game streaming is that it can turn any rinkydink device into a dedicated player for AAA games. When Microsoft first announced Xbox Cloud Gaming in 2018, people naturally started to wonder how the technology could impact the world of gaming hardware. Would Microsoft continue to make consoles, or would Xbox transform from a product into a service?
As a cloud service, Xbox can escape many trappings of the “console wars,” such as the 7-year console cycle. Game streaming also solves the problem of economic inaccessibility—most families can afford an Xbox streaming stick, and if they can’t, they can still stream games to their smart TV, phone, laptop, or tablet.
The only major hangup, aside from internet speeds (which are very slow in the U.S.), is data caps. Popular ISPs like Xfinity impose harsh data caps on their customers, which are very easy to exceed when streaming games from the cloud.
While we don’t have a timeline for the Xbox streaming stick or smart TV app, Microsoft says that Xbox Cloud Gaming will arrive on Chrome, Edge, and Safari browsers within the coming weeks. The service will also arrive on iOS via a progressive web app (because Apple doesn’t want game streaming services on the App Store). Those who are already using Xbox Cloud Gaming should notice a performance boost sometime this month, as Microsoft is currently upgrading its data centers.