Head of Xbox Phil Spencer says he thinks Xbox will release a smart TV app used to play games, with no console required, “in the next 12 months”.In an interview with The Verge’s Decoder podcast, Spencer was asked what was stopping Microsoft from releasing Xbox as an app for smart TVs that meet a minimum hardware specification. The answer, it seems, is nothing:
“I think you’re going to see that in the next 12 months,” replied Spencer, “I don’t think anything is going to stop us from doing that.”
Spencer doesn’t go into any specifics on the mooted app, but we’ve previous heard the Xbox exec discuss the idea of Xbox ‘Streaming Sticks’ that could be used to stream games through xCloud after being plugged into the TV. These could even be made part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription cost.It’s not clear if Microsoft is considering which approach to take, or if it will take both, allowing those with higher-powered TVs simply to download the app, and those without to use a plug-in solution.
Spencer reiterated that he doesn’t see streaming as the end of Microsoft’s dedicated consoles, however, saying, “I don’t think these will be the last big pieces of hardware that we ship.”
Confirmed Xbox Series X Games
Instead, he sees the future of Xbox as a hybrid of in-built computing power and streaming:
“When we think about xCloud, which is our version of [Google] Stadia or [Amazon] Luna, I think what it needs to evolve to are games that actually run between a hybrid environment of the cloud and the local compute capability, and that they can actually take full advantage of the cloud that’s there and that’s available, but also full advantage of my edge compute capability that I have in my home in the console. It’s really a hybrid between both of those.”
He later continued, “I don’t think the outcome is by definition going to be, ‘everything becomes terminal-server in my home and all my games are just running completely in the cloud.’ When we think about the evolution of our game platform, it’s really more of a hybrid game platform between edge and cloud that we’re shooting for.”
Given the scarcity of Xbox Series X and S right now, many would likely jump at the opportunity to simply stream Xbox games directly onto their TVs.