For some time now, Microsoft has been focusing some of its gaming efforts on game streaming. At the moment, game streaming is only available on Android as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, but Microsoft has indicated a number of times in the past that platform-agnostic game streaming is a potential end goal for the company. With that in mind, it might not be long before we see Microsoft launch an Xbox app for smart TVs.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer indicated as much in a lengthy new interview for The Verge’s Decoder podcast (transcribed in full here). The interview covers a lot of ground, but it eventually moved to the future of dedicated gaming machines now that there’s such a big focus on game streaming. While Spencer thinks that Microsoft will continue to ship gaming hardware in the future, he also suggests that it won’t be long before we see an Xbox app available for smart TVs.
“I think you’re going to see that in the next 12 months,” Spencer said. “I don’t think anything is going to stop us from doing that.” So, it may not be long before we’re able to stream games directly through a smart TV app. Elaborating on that further, Spencer touched on it game streaming dispute with Apple and suggested that any device capable of running a web browser could potentially be a device capable of streaming Xbox games from the cloud.
“If the device is capable of running a capable web browser, we’re going to be able to bring games to it, which is pretty cool,” Spencer said. “You’ll be able to bring all of your saved games and your friends and everything comes with you. It’s just Xbox on this new screen with the games.”
Companies pursuing game streaming – in this case Microsoft, Google, NVIDIA, and Amazon – have all bumped up against Apple’s restrictive App Store rules, and now it seems that each of them are looking at launching game streaming as a Safari-based web app. Amazon and NVIDIA have already rolled out game streaming in some form on iOS and Google has confirmed that it will begin testing iOS streaming soon. In this interview, it seems that Spencer is confirming that streaming through a web browser will be a way forward for Microsoft when it comes to a number of devices including iOS.
So, while Microsoft’s Project xCloud game streaming might be fairly limited in scope at the moment, Spencer’s interview with The Verge suggests that the future is wide open. Not only that, but Spencer indicates that Microsoft is going to look at every avenue it can for streaming to a number of different internet-connect devices. We’ll see what happens from here, but by this time next year, we could be gaming through an Xbox app on our smart TVs.