The streaming-only Xbox might still come, but Microsoft has struggled to hit its $129 target price

The streaming-only Xbox might still come, but Microsoft has struggled to hit its $129 target price
(Image credit: Microsoft)

It's no secret that Microsoft's plans for a streaming-only Xbox have been put on ice. Now we know why: the company couldn't get the price under $129 (around £100 / AU$190). 

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer told The Verge’s Decoder podcast: "It was more expensive than we wanted it to be when we actually built it out with the hardware that we had inside".

The console giant had hoped to sell an Xbox streaming console bundled with a wireless controller for between $129 and $99. But after adding in the cost of the chips, the price tag ballooned to closer to that of the $299 / £249 / AU$499 Xbox Series S. Two Xbox products effectively competing with each other? Hardly ideal.

After making some tough decisions, the team behind project 'Keystone' (the codename for the streaming-only Xbox) was swiftly refocused on delivering the Xbox TV app, which launched earlier this year in partnership with Samsung and allows users to stream games on a smart TV without a console.

Phil Spencer / Microsoft Gaming

(Image credit: Phil Spencer / Microsoft Gaming)

Rumours of a console-free streaming Xbox – originally said to look like an Amazon Fire TV Stick – began circulating in May. At the time, we told you how the device was tipped to offer "access to movie and TV services in addition to a library of games through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate."

Since then, Spencer has tweeted, then deleted, an image of a prototype gathering dust on a shelf (pictured above) and revealed that, although the streaming-only Xbox "worked really, really well", it could be "years away" from launch.

In the meantime, those who want to cloud stream Xbox games can do so via the Xbox TV app, available through selected Samsung smart TVs.


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Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.