Just when we thought that we’d got a handle on xCloud – or Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, to use its full release title – along comes a juicy rumour to throw a spanner in the works.
It was thought that the service, now available to everyone with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, is merely a supplementary add-on for those who already own a console, and therefore not a competitor to the likes of Stadia and Amazon Luna.
However, it seems that Xbox has plans for xCloud beyond consoles after all. It is rumoured to be planning a dongle device, a bit like a Chromecast, to enable xCloud gaming on a TV without an Xbox underneath.
The speculation comes from an interview Xbox boss Phil Spencer had with business analysis website Stratechery.
During a conversation he had about Xbox All Access, the scheme that offers new consoles through monthly payments, he mulled over the possibility of xCloud specific hardware: “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,” he said.
“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 TV and buying the controller.”
At present, xCloud is only available on Android, through the Xbox Game Pass app. Spencer recently vowed to find a way to put it on iOS too.