Xbox head Phil Spencer hints at streaming sticks for xCloud access

Microsoft may be looking into more budget approaches to entering the Xbox ecosystem, with Xbox head Phil Spencer hinting that future plans could involve lower-priced hardware for their streaming service xCloud.

This comes via an interview with  Stratchery (via The Verge), where Spencer theorises that budget devices such as streaming sticks to enable players to stream xCloud games to their TVs.

“I think you’re going to see lower-priced hardware as part of our ecosystem when you think about streaming sticks and other things that somebody might want to just go plug into their TV and go play via xCloud,” said Spencer.

“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 television and buying the controller.”

Such a strategy would make xCloud more similar to the likes of Google Stadia and Amazon’s recently-announced Luna, which respectively use the Chromecast and Amazon Fire sticks to stream games to TVs.

Spencer also theorised that Microsoft could introduce a “Xbox Game Pass Platinum” tier, guaranteeing access to new Xbox hardware.

Such a strategy would be in line with Microsoft’s approach with the budget Xbox Series S – a lower power, budget alternative to the Series X. With the company focused on its efforts with Game Pass, it seems more important to Microsoft to get more players into their ecosystem, regardless of how expensive their hardware is.

It’s a strategy Microsoft seems to be confident about – last week Spencer said that he expects the Xbox Series S to outsell the Series X, during the lifespan of this coming console generation.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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