Microsoft could offer small hardware, similar to what Amazon Fire TV is if the cloud-based streaming kicks off.
Microsoft is openly wanting to become the Netflix of gaming, and with the (Xbox) Game Pass subscription service, they are going towards this direction, and streaming is also a part of it. This is where the new subscription tier steps in. Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, talked about the subject in an interview with Stratechery.
Currently, there are two Game Pass subscription tiers: the basic one and the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate that adds Xbox Live Gold, cloud gaming, as well as EA Play. But Spencer already hinted at a Platinum Tier, that would also bring new Xbox hardware. It could replace the Xbox All Access program, which – for a monthly fee – offers players a console and a Game Pass subscription. We could go further: Spencer could compete with Amazon Luna and Google Stadia.
Although we can already stream on Android devices (with PC and consoles being planned; the iOS solution could be a browser-based idea to avoid the Apple App Store, we wrote about both before), Spencer wants to go further: „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. You could imagine us even having something that we just included in the Game Pass subscription that gave you an ability to stream xCloud games to your television and buying the controller,” he said.
If the infrastructure is developed enough (because input lag is a thing), Microsoft could provide hardware cheaper than the Xbox Series S (no need for an SSD, a GPU, or things like that…), and it could be a comfortable solution – and they’d cash out on the subscriptions.
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