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Microsoft confirms work on ‘Keystone’ Xbox game streaming dongle

Microsoft confirms work on ‘Keystone’ Xbox game streaming dongle


Could Keystone be the keystone of Microsoft’s cloud gaming plans?

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The Xbox X in a circle logo against a dark background with green lines.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Microsoft’s long-in-the-works xCloud streaming device is going through some changes, as reported by Windows Central. The company first announced the dedicated streaming dongle in June 2021, but in a statement given to Windows Central, the company said it has pivoted from the “current iteration” of the device, which it says is codenamed Keystone.

Here is Microsoft’s full statement shared with Windows Central:

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.

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.

It’s unclear what these changes might be, and Microsoft didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment. But there’s a lot of promise for a dedicated Xbox streaming device. While the Xbox Series X has been more readily available than the PS5, it’s still not the easiest console to come by, and it costs hundreds of dollars. A (presumably) cheaper streaming stick might be a more affordable way for many to check out the games Microsoft offers via the cloud — including, as of this month, Epic Games’ Fortnite.

And Microsoft isn’t just working on a streaming device; it has an Xbox app for TVs in the works as well. In November 2020, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer told The Verge that “I think you’re going to see that in the next 12 months,” and while the company has missed that deadline, VentureBeat reported on May 6th that an Xbox game streaming app for Samsung smart TVs “should debut within the next 12 months.” VentureBeat said the streaming device is set for sometime in the next 12 months, too.

While we don’t know exactly when Microsoft plans to share more about these projects, it does have a big showcase set for June 12th.