What happened to the rumored Xbox 'streaming stick'? [Exclusive]
Prior to E3 2016, rumors circulated about a Chromecast-like "Xbox streaming stick," but sadly, the device never materialized.
Initially leaked by Microsoft blogger Brad Sams, Microsoft was expected to debut a streaming dongle, similar to Chromecast, at this year's E3. Instead, we got Project Scorpio, with no streaming device in sight. So, what happened?
In a recent chat about Project Scorpio with a credible source familiar with Microsoft's plans, we discovered a little a bit about what happened with "Project Hobart."
"Hobart" was the codename for Microsoft's Xbox streaming stick, and the device was pretty much ready to go. Microsoft was due to order 300,000 units for manufacture, set to launch a few weeks after E3 2016. A change in plans led to the device being canned, however, and while we don't know the exact reason why the leak of the PlayStation 4 Pro might have had something to do with it.
Our source told us that Project Scorpio was never intended for an E3 2016 announcement, but the leak and subsequent announcement of the PlayStation 4 Pro, codenamed "Neo," tipped Microsoft's hand.
Project Hobart would have been a $99 dongle, with low computational power — albeit powerful enough to run UWP apps and even light UWP games. The stick would also be capable of streaming your Xbox One or Project Scorpio over your home WiFi, presumably via the Windows 10 Xbox app.
If I had to speculate, I would suggest that Hobart was developed to run Windows 10 IoT. Microsoft recently canceled the development of a Microsoft Band 3 wearable after they failed to get it to run Windows IoT. It's hard not to wonder whether the cancellations are somehow related. Perhaps Microsoft wanted to keep the attention firmly on the Xbox One S and Project Scorpio. It's hard to say.
Perhaps we'll see the Project Hobart Xbox streaming stick make an appearance sometime in the future, but for now, we'll just have to wait and see.
Is the Xbox streaming stick something you would have been interested in? Let us know in the comments!
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at 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!