Soon the Xbox experience will come baked right into your TV. That's thanks to an Xbox TV app that Microsoft is launching that will bring games directly to your big screen with no console required.
Don't have a smart TV? No problem. Microsoft has streaming devices in the works, too, which will bring Xbox gaming to any set with an HDMI port.
Microsoft made the announcement (opens in new tab) ahead of the E3 games conference, which kicks off tomorrow.
"We’re working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Game Pass experience directly into internet-connected TVs so all you’ll need to play is a controller," the blog post reads.
There's no word on when the app will launch, nor which TV makers will offer it. There's also no mention of which games will be available, although the suggestion appears to be that it will tied into Microsoft's Game Pass Ultimate service, which gives subscribers unlimited access to over 100 top-tier games (including all first-party Microsoft titles) for £10.99 ($14.99, AU$15.95) a month.
The spec of your TV will likely matter a bit, too, but the speed of your internet connection will likely be a bigger factor. Both the Xbox Series X and S are powerhouse consoles, so with no dedicated games machine in the equation, all that processing grunt will have to be handled somewhere.
"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," the post goes on. These could be a streaming stick or dongle along the lines of the Google Chromecast with Google TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, or it could be a bigger, Apple TV 4K-sized device.
The Verge (opens in new tab) describes it specifically as an xCloud streaming stick, but this appears to be an assumption on their part as Microsoft hasn't confirmed this in the announcement.
Microsoft is also opening up cloud gaming to more devices by enabling it through the Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Apple Safari web browsers. According to Microsoft, "players will be a click away from gaming on almost any device." Again, there's no word on hardware or internet requirements.
Xbox's Phil Spencer has previously hinted at these developments, saying in November that he would expect the TV app to land within a year. So it could be a Christmas treat for anyone still unable to lay their hands on a new Xbox.
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