Xbox is slowly starting to shed more light on the long-rumored streaming stick that’ll help open its Xbox Cloud Gaming tech up to an even wider audience, though the device now known to be codenamed “Keystone” is very much still taking form.
In a statement delivered to Windows Central, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that Keystone, a codename spotted within a list of Xbox operating systems in March, does indeed refer to the in-development streaming hardware. However, that confirmation doesn’t necessairly mean we’ll be seeing Keystone up for sale any time soon.
That statement also revealed that, at the current stage in development, Xbox has made the call to “pivot away from the current iteration” and use the lessons learned from this early version of Keystone to “refocus our efforts on a new approach” that’ll better meet the company’s wider goals with Xbox Cloud Gaming.
A low-cost, cloud-based streaming device is a natural extension of Xbox’s ongoing efforts in the cloud-based game space, and delivers on its stated focus to reduce the barrier of entry for people to engage with Xbox games and services. Xbox’s existing efforts in the console and PC games space have allowed the company to spend years upon years building up its game streaming technology through a series of betas and slow rollouts, to the point where the tech is now usable (in beta) on Xbox consoles, PC, and mobile.
The device itself has been a long time coming. Xbox’s Phil Spencer mused on the benefits of an Xbox-branded streaming stick way back in 2020, at the time teasing the possibility of adding lower-priced hardware to the Xbox ecosystem along the lines of a streaming stick that worked in conjunction with Xbox Cloud Gaming and its Xbox Game Pass subscription.
More concrete information about Xbox streaming hardware has emerged since Spencer’s first musings, including a report earlier this month suggesting both Keystone and an Xbox Cloud Gaming smart TV app for Samsung TVs could arrive within the next 12 months. Whether that rumored launch window includes today’s revalation that the team has backed away from its current iteration of the device remains to be seen.