Xbox Series xCloud? Phil Spencer hints at lower-cost cloud gaming hardware

Group of devices running xCloud
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's xCloud game streaming service is probably the closest thing to a front runner in that fairly nascent market thanks in large part to the strength of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

The service is currently usable on a wide variety of hardware that has Android and Windows 10 support and of course Xbox consoles. What's missing from that list is a lower-cost option. But in a recent interview with Stratechery, Xbox Chief Phil Spencer, indicated that wouldn't be true forever (via Engadget).

The discussion centered around Xbox All Access, the essentially subscription-based model for purchasing the Xbox Series X or Series S that spreads the cost of the console out over 24 months along with a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Spencer said: "I think you're going to see lower-priced hardware...think about streaming sticks and other things that somebody might want to just go plug into their TV and go play via xCloud." This is precisely how Google Stadia operates, using a Chromecast Ultra or eventually Chromecast with Google TV to deliver the cloud gaming service.

Spencer went on to say that, "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 TV and buying the controller."

The notion that Microsoft is exploring this idea is hardly a shock, there have been rumors of it going back several years. However, it's interesting to hear Spencer addressing it so directly, particularly so close to the launch of the Xbox Series X and Series S

Xbox fans can file this away for the future, but given the language that Spencer used I suspect that we are talking about something that is years away from happening, so don't cancel that Xbox Series X pre-order.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.