Microsoft plans to launch a streaming device that will let people play console-free Xbox games “within the next 12 months,” VentureBeat reports. The device – which VentureBeat compared to Amazon Fire TV or Roku – will allow customers to access the Xbox Game Pass library through Xbox Cloud Gaming, as well as movie and TV streaming platforms.
VentureBeat further reports that Microsoft is working on a native app for Samsung smart TVs that would allow owners of those displays to access the Xbox Cloud Gaming service without having to purchase the aforementioned standalone streaming device. This app is also expected to arrive next year, according to VentureBeat. It would likely work similarly to Nvidia’s game streaming service app GeForce Now, which launched on LG TVs earlier this year.
The app and streaming device are in line with Microsoft’s long-term plans to increase access to Xbox games by removing barriers to entry, in particular the need to purchase a game console that costs hundreds of dollars. The company announced a day ago that it has partnered with Epic Games to create fortnite playable in browsers via Xbox Cloud Gaming. When it comes to Xbox streaming devices and Smart TV apps, Microsoft already said at E3 2021 that it’s working on those same things.
“We’re working with global TV makers to bring the Game Pass experience directly into internet-connected TVs, so all you’ll need to play is a controller,” said Liz Hamren, then vice president of the company for gaming experiences and platforms at Microsoft. “Beyond that, we’re also developing standalone streaming devices that you can plug into a TV or monitor, so if you have a strong internet connection, you can stream your Xbox experience.”