Xbox lead Phil Spencer talks Xbox Game Pass 'Platinum' and Xbox TV streaming sticks

xCloud (Image credit: Windows Central)

In a recent interview (via The Verge) with Stratechery, Xbox lead Phil Spencer offered some hints about where Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud Xbox game streaming could head in the future.

The interview with Stratechery is paywalled, but The Verge extracted some interesting quotes about Spencer's thoughts on what the future could hold.

"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. (...) 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."

Brad Sams of previously revealed that Microsoft was experimenting with a Chromecast-like TV dongle, dubbed Project Hobart. In the interview with Stratechery, Phil Spencer also reportedly mentions the possibility of an Xbox Game Pass "Platinum" tier, that would come with free hardware, similar in design to Xbox All Access.

Xbox Game Pass

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Project xCloud is already exceeding expectations according to our sources.

Project xCloud is already exceeding expectations according to our sources, with strong uptake in Eastern Europe and South Korea. Microsoft has been aggressively promoting Xbox Game Pass' cloud streaming features in partnership with Samsung in South Korea, showcasing how xCloud streams function on Samsung Galaxy tablets and phones. Microsoft's proposed acquisition of ZeniMax Media (Bethesda Softworks) also comes with patents for unique streaming technology, dubbed Project Orion.

Xbox Game Pass and cloud streaming are certainly opening up new markets for Microsoft to explore. With the guarantee of flowing revenue from a paying subscriber base, there are many ways Microsoft could add value to the proposition. And you can bet that, right now, Microsoft is exploring every potential for xCloud right alongside the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

If you're interested in Project xCloud Xbox Game Pass streaming, be sure to take a look at our roundups for best tablets for Xbox Game Pass xCloud gaming, and best phone clips for Xbox One.

Xbox Game Pass


Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Make a Roku or Fire Stick (less likely) app and people would be all over it!
  • I guess those are Android devices so to some extent they already have it. But sure. Make an official app for those formats.
  • I think the problem with those sticks is the limited download speeds and latency. It doesnt take a lit to stream a 4k movie shot at 24fps. But low latency game streaming needs good processors and great wifi speeds
  • Amazon support LUNA on Fire TV so an official xcloud app for Fire is a non-starter.
  • This is exactly what I had talked about. It's what completes the xcloud/xbox ecosystem and what I need. Amazing. I hope the hardware is cheap and easy to get, or at least ships to my country.
  • There was like about a dozen people that bought a Sony Playstation TV. One man's trash is another man's treasure they say. I'm still confused as to how Phil talked Satya into copying failed products/services. Its confusing times when failed products/services are considered "amazing" years later. "With the guarantee of flowing revenue from a paying subscriber base, there are many ways Microsoft could add value to the proposition. " Very confused by this statement by the author, there is no guarantee of flowing revenue, its more like a prayer of revenue.
  • Sign me up! This is literally all I want, Microsoft... an Xbox streaming stick. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
  • This sounds like a great idea. They already sell controllers with the wireless adapter, this could be a different type of bundle. It seems like a no brainer.
  • I've been saying for almost a year that this is where everything is headed. XBoxSeriesX is for the hard-core gamer. Always will be.
    XBoxSeriesS is the the younger gamer or one with less money to spend.
    xCloud + GamePass is the the future, aimed at the "other" 75% of the market: The "casual" gamer.
    When you can run full-speed, full-effect XBox games on your EXISTING TV by just buying a cheap "xCloud GamingStick" and plugging it into one of your HDMI ports on your TV, connect you favorite xbox game-pad to the built-in XBox WiFi on said game-stick, sit back on the couch and PLAY ANYTHING via XBox Live+xCloud, then a HUGE market opens up for Microsoft Globally.
    Add in the fact that you can "take it with you" on your phone when not at home? It's a Money Tree.
    They only break-even or lose a little $$$ on the XBOX hardware, they make their REAL money on the subscription services: XBox Live, GamePass, etc.
    If Microsoft does NOT do this, they are fools, leaving BILLIONS on the table.
    They have the infrastructure to support it (Azure), they have the technology (xCloud) they have the community (Xbox Live) they just have to put 2+2 together and cash in.
    Trust me. They know this and they are going to do it, probably AFTER the holidays so as not to impact the XBox Series X/S launch.
    I expect a "xCloud Stick" will come up for sale sometime in the 2nd Quarter of 2021 for about $100 (with a wireless Xbox GamePad.) It will include a "trial" of xCloud for 1 month, and a discount on a full xCloud subscription.
    Since you can use XBox Live for streaming lots of services, it doubles as a streaming stick too.
    Do it Microsoft. You know you want to.
  • Welcome to 2015 i.e. PS Now, PS Remote Play and PS TV with PS Now apps on Sony Bravia and Samsung TVs and via PS TV. No customers. <-------------- "If Microsoft does NOT do this, they are fools, leaving BILLIONS on the table." More like continue to lose money just like the rest of the game streaming services have been doing for 10+ years. PS Now on TVs... Bravias/Samsung PS Now on PS TV PS Now on Nvidia Shield PS Now on PS vita (note he says this is for the casual gamer... lol) "Trust me. " I would rather not for obvious reasons. $$$$$ Billions LOL, more like lucky to get pennies
  • By your logic, "nobody will ever game on a phone because the PS Vita was a flop." Sure buddy.
  • People have been gaming on phones since digital phones came out, not sure where you got that from or how you think I implied that. There are countless services like what you describe for 5-10 years, no customers and for obvious reasons. People game on phones from time to time, but no they're not paying for all this... none of this is new... its just new to you. If all this was so exciting you would have already signed up on one of the many services that already exists. Obviously you haven't... yet you're now excited for yet another company doing the same thing like its new. Game streaming is the flop and for obvious reasons.
  • It's also about timing, sometimes companies are ahead of the curve and release something that isn't ready yet or wanted enough yet.
  • OMG you're gamer bleached!
  • This idea is terrible, what they should actually do is just release an xCloud app for TV's. Don't force customers to buy a dongle that is completely irrelevant in this day and age where EVERY TV is smart practically. XCloud doesn't need hardware beyond a tv and a bluetooth controller, that's it.
  • I do agree that they need apps on everything, but it isn't a terrible idea. Not all Smart TVs are created equal. Also, my 2018 Samsung has FAR different apps than my 2014 version. This would also let people without Smart TVs get in on the game. There is a reason why Fire Sticks and Rokus are very popular. Hell, I use a Roku Ultra and I have an Xbox One AND it is a 2018 Samsung. I only use the Samsung OS for HBO Maxx.
  • I think it's about the hardware. My 2015 TV likely has some ancient tech inside. Even Netflix loads slowly.
  • I'm a true non-gamer and even I'd be interested in this. But it'd be even better if more recent TVs with sufficiently beefed up internals could do this dongle-free (e.g. through an app). Then I'd get a new TV! It's about time anyway.
  • Android TV can run the Android app already. Recently renamed to Google TV.
    Several brands run it.
    But with a stick is doesn't matter what the TV runs.
  • Actually, all MS needs to do is code a PC app and put it atop a PC STICK running CoreOS.
    Those start under $100.
    Do an XBOX ALL-ACCESS deal for $20 for a year.