Microsoft has revealed that, in the near future, you’ll be able to play Xbox games on your TV, without the need for a console.
It’s no secret that Microsoft has been trying to make Xbox Game Pass a platform independent service. Though the system is currently in beta, if you subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate you can stream Xbox games to your phone or tablet. So being able to play those same games on a stand-alone TV isn’t that much of a leap.
According to the company’s recent Xbox Wire Blog Post, Microsoft is:
“Xbox is working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Xbox experience directly into internet-connected televisions with no extra hardware required except a controller.”
What that likely means is that, if you buy an Xbox-embedded TV, you’ll be able to stream Xbox games directly to your TV, via Xbox Game Pass (also dubbed Cloud Gaming). We’re not at the stage, technology wise, where you could integrate an Xbox into a television without seriously increasing its size, but it would be a relatively simple matter to add the facility to stream Xbox games over the internet.
But what if you don’t want to replace your TV with an Xbox Game Pass compatible model? Microsoft is also working on their own streaming devices that will work with any TV or monitor. You can already get streaming sticks for Roku and Amazon TV, so an Xbox streaming device wouldn’t need to be much larger, if at all.
So what’s the catch? Right now you have to be a subscriber to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to stream games to a mobile or tablet, so the same may be true of Xbox TVs. Or Microsoft could produce a fourth Xbox Game Pass option just for streaming, joining Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Game Pass PC and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Also, you’ll require a reasonably fast, reliable internet connection of at least 10 Mbps, according to Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming page. On top of that, if your connection cuts out, you’ll lose access to the game you’re playing. There could also be lag between your controller input and the on-screen action; we’re sure Microsoft will work hard to minimise that but it’s always a possibility.
Still, with Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, and many, many other companies, it seems they’re serious about making Xbox not just a gaming platform but a platform-independent service. There’s no news on when these Xbox-enabled TVs will be available, or which companies will be manufacturing them, but we’ll keep you updated when we have more information.