Microsoft’s xCloud streaming device is undergoing some changes. The company first announced the dedicated streaming dongle in June 2021. But the company said in a new statement that it is moving away from current versions of the device, which it says bears the codename Keystone.
Rumors that Microsoft has been exploring a streaming device to provide Xbox Cloud Gaming via an affordable dongle have persisted for a few years.
The first hint was Project Hobart. Recently, the codename Keystone appeared in the list of Xbox operating systems.
This led to rumors that Microsoft was continuing to explore additional hardware for the Xbox lineup.
The Keystone is a modern HDMI streaming device that powers Xbox Game Pass and the cloud gaming service. However, the company is exploring additional updated versions of the product before bringing it to market.
In a statement , a Microsoft spokesperson described its commitment to reducing limits on Xbox content across low-cost devices, while acknowledging that the current version of Keystone needs more time before it is released.
” Our vision for Xbox Cloud Gaming is consistent ,” the spokesperson said . Our goal is to enable people to play the games they want, across the devices they want, wherever they want. And as we announced last year, we’ve been developing a game streaming device, codenamed Keystone, that can be connected to any TV or monitor without the need for a platform.
He added, “We continue to evaluate our efforts, review what we have learned, and ensure that we deliver value to our customers as part of any technology journey. We’ve made the decision to move away from the current version of the Keystone hardware. We’re taking what we’ve learned and refocusing our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to more gamers around the world in the future.
Keystone is key to Microsoft’s cloud gaming plans
Based on those statements, Keystone has been in development for two years, as the company continues to finalize the product’s feature set.
The Keystone device can run some kind of Windows or Xbox operating system watered down, given that Keystone originally appeared in the list of operating systems along with various Xbox platforms such as ERA and GameOS.
Using Windows instead of alternatives like Android allows the company to offer its own media streaming apps like Microsoft Movies & TV.
The exact timeline for the Keystone device remains unclear. But don’t expect to see it any time soon, particularly at the upcoming Xbox and Bethesda Show on June 12.
The low-cost streaming device makes sense from a business perspective, as Microsoft is pushing to make Xbox Game Pass available to more families who might not be interested in owning a full platform.
The company has also previously hinted at bringing TV apps to Xbox Cloud Gaming as well, further lowering the barrier.