Microsoft is teaming up with TV makers to bring Xbox Game Pass as a built-in app to smart televisions.
Consumers will soon be able to play Xbox games in their living room without owning any gaming hardware. Microsoft today announced an ambitious plan to expand Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to smart TVs as a native application. Certain TVs will ship with the app pre-installed and users will be able to wirelessly stream games over Project xCloud servers.
"Xbox is working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Xbox experience directly into internet-connected televisions with no extra hardware required except a controller," the company announced.
This move could be transformative for Microsoft's gaming division. Since transitioning as a service-first operation, Xbox gaming has delivered consecutive record earnings every year. In 2021 the company will make more money from Xbox than it ever has before.
Streaming isn't perfect, though. Cloud gaming is held back by potential issues like latency/wireless speeds and data caps. Access is temporarily restricted if the servers go down--there's no offline gaming. The upside is massive convenience with expanded access points over phones, PCs, TVs, and soon Xbox consoles, as well as no downloads.
Despite xCloud's innovations, Phil Spencer has said in the past that dedicated console and PC play will be the best way to experience games.
"I think that cloud technology has the capability over years to create a really compelling experience at home on a large screen, but the best way for you to go and play Cyberpunk or any of our games is going to be dedicated hardware in your home with local storage of those things beaming to your screen as fast as it can," Spencer said in 2019.
Microsoft hasn't announced any specific partners just yet, nor do they have a timeline for the rollout.
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