Xbox Cloud Gaming Streaming Stick: Everything We Know

Last year, Microsoft revealed that it's working on some sort of streaming device (or streaming devices) to enable users to play cloud-based video games without a console or PC. Unfortunately, in the time since then, Microsoft has gone quiet on the topic. Well, it appears that the device in question is very much in active development, although a lot still remains to be uncovered about its core design and capabilities.

The folks over at Windows Central have received confirmation from Microsoft that the company is working on a "modernized HDMI streaming device that runs Xbox Game Pass and its cloud gaming service." Though a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that the streaming device is indeed in the works, that person wasn't able to reveal any other details about it, saying only that Microsoft has decided "to pivot away from the current iteration" of the device. That could mean it'll be quite some time before we get an official reveal.

Currently in development under the name Project Keystone, the game streaming dongle has been an active project for the past couple of years, according to the report. In the meantime, Amazon and Google have shipped their own Luna and Stadia gaming bundles with Chromecasts and Fire TV sticks, respectively, despite the fact that Microsoft offers the most popular cloud-based game streaming service out there.

Promising hardware shrouded in mystery

Microsoft hasn't shared many details about its game streaming stick, except the fact that it can be "connected to any TV or monitor without the need for a console." The device is speculated to boot a watered-down version of Windows or the Xbox operating system, but there is no certainty on how it is going to pan out.

The name "Keystone" was first unearthed by data miner Tero Alhonen in March, who found a reference to Keystone lurking alongside other known codenames for Xbox hardware. Whether Microsoft goes for in-house software on its game streaming stick or adopts Google's Android to put more services at the disposal of users remains to be seen.

But Keystone definitely seems like yet another step by Microsoft to put the Xbox game ecosystem on more devices than just consoles, PCs, and smartphones. Cloud-based game streaming eliminates the hassle of spending big bucks on dedicated game hardware, and adding a plug-and-play streaming stick is just another way of adding more versatility to the whole ecosystem. Microsoft has scheduled the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase for June 12, but don't hold your breath for any kind of surprise streaming stick announcement there, as Windows Central speculates that one probably isn't in the cards.