Did Xbox just tease its 'Keystone' cloud gaming console?

Supposed Xbox keystone "leak."
A fan render from 4chan imagines what Keystone might look like. (Image credit: @ElrondGaming (via 4chan))

What you need to know

  • Microsoft Gaming CEO and Xbox leader Phil Spencer recently posted an image in which an unknown Xbox device can be seen on the top of his office shelves.
  • Due to the device's small size, many believe that this could be Microsoft's upcoming game streaming console, codenamed "Keystone."
  • Keystone will directly hook into Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming, and will be a more affordable alternative to systems that can play games natively like Xbox Series X|S or gaming PCs.
  • Keystone's release date is unknown, though this tease — if the device on the shelf is indeed the streaming console — may suggest that it's coming sooner rather than later.

In a post congratulating developer Bethesda Game Studios on the 25th Anniversary of the post-apocalyptic RPG franchise Fallout, Microsoft Gaming CEO and Xbox leader Phil Spencer shared an image of a Vault Boy statue on his office shelf. The statue looks awesome, but ultimately, the thing that makes the picture interesting has nothing to do with the statue or Fallout at all. Instead, the talk of the town is all about the visible Xbox device that can be seen on the top of the shelf, right next to an Xbox Series Controller. You can see for yourself in the embedded Tweet below.

Though it initially seems to be an Xbox Series S, closer inspection makes it clear that it's much smaller than the entry-level gaming console. It's barely wider than the controller it's next to, in fact, and it's quite short as well. This has led many to believe that the system could be Microsoft's "Keystone" streaming console, which was initially rumored to be in development earlier this year. Later, we revealed exclusive details about Microsoft's efforts to iterate on the streaming device.

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Unlike the Xbox Series X|S consoles that are capable of playing games natively with their powerful local hardware, Keystone is a device focused solely on game streaming over the internet. Set to integrate directly with Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming, Keystone will offer Xbox gamers a smaller and more affordable alternative to traditional consoles and gaming PCs.

In addition to offering a great cloud gaming experience, there's also a strong chance that Keystone will include access to popular media apps like Netflix and Hulu as well. This would make it the perfect all-in-one device for all things streaming, whether you're looking to game or you want to check out the latest and greatest movies and TV.

It was unclear when Keystone could be expected to release when news about it first came out earlier this year, but the fact that it possibly just got shown off on Phil Spencer's shelf suggests that an official reveal and release of the console may not be too far off. Perhaps Microsoft may even release Keystone in time for the holidays — after all, an inexpensive streaming device would be a fantastic gift for gamers around the world.

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Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives fans access to all of the amazing games that Xbox Game Pass has to offer, while also allowing them to use Xbox Cloud Gaming. If you're planning on using the Keystone when it releases, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a must-have.

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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.