Microsoft will soon bring its Game Pass service to smart TVs with an Xbox app. The app will allow users to stream games directly from the internet to their TVs. This is similar to the approach Google used with its underwhelming Stadia streaming service, which has failed to turn a profit for the tech giant.
Microsoft has a distinct advantage over Google in this space: brand recognition and a subscription-based Game Pass service. So, when can Xbox fans expect to play the newest Halo game without a console?
Microsoft plans to roll out an app for Samsung Smart TVs starting on June 30. This will allow Game Pass users to connect to Microsoft servers and stream games from their wide library of available titles. Game Pass is a $10 per month subscription service that gives users access to a library of new and old titles. It’s Microsoft’s killer app and the biggest selling point for gamers who are interested in buying an Xbox.
Here’s the thing: Microsoft wants to reach anyone who wants to pay for their games. Rather than hiding its exclusive titles behind a console, the company has determined that it’s better business to accept users’ money and let them play the games on whatever platform they already have. They’ve already showcased this attitude by porting its Xbox exclusive titles to PC.
Game Pass subscribers will be able to use the Xbox app to stream games from Microsoft’s servers straight to their smart TVs. They’ll need to connect a Bluetooth controller first–but it doesn’t have to be an Xbox-branded controller. In fact, Microsoft explicitly stated that users can connect a Sony DualSense controller to play titles like Forza and Halo through the service.
This approach shows that Microsoft is confident in its software and aware that it’s losing in the hardware race. Competitors Sony and Nintendo have consistently outsold Microsoft’s Xbox console. While Microsoft moved 7.7 million Xbox Series S and X consoles in 2021, Sony sold 12.5 million PlayStation 5s, and Nintendo moved an eye-opening 24.3 million Switch systems.
This new plan reportedly sees Microsoft breaking away from its plans to use a streaming device that was codenamed “Keystone”. This device would have functioned similarly to a Chromecast, though it seems Microsoft has learned from Google’s mistakes with their similar Stadia service. At the end of the day, the important thing about game streaming is that it can meet gamers where they already are. By charging only $10 per month for gamers to access its titles, Microsoft is positioning itself as the primary option for gamers on a budget.