Xbox Wants To Let You Play Games Without A Console

Streaming sticks and smart TV apps for Xbox cloud gaming

Imagine yourself in the middle of this graphic.
Imagine yourself in the middle of this graphic.
Image: Microsoft

Xbox cloud gaming allows Game Pass Ultimate subscribers to stream popular Xbox games to their Android devices and internet browsers, but that’s only the beginning. In a pre-E3 post on Xbox Wire, Microsoft revealed plans to create TV apps and dedicated streaming devices to bring Xbox gaming to more players without the need for a console.


You don’t need an Xbox console to play Xbox games. Anyone subscribing to Game Pass Ultimate has instant access to a growing library of Xbox games that play perfectly well streamed over an internet connection to their cell phones. With browser-based streaming coming out of beta in the coming weeks, enabling play on just about anything capable of running Chrome, Safari, or whatever Microsoft’s browser is these days, the company turns its attention to getting game streaming running on even more devices.

To that end, Microsoft is working with global TV manufacturers to have an Xbox app embedded in internet-enabled televisions. Xbox would be another menu option on such devices, like Hulu or Netflix, only for games. Users would be able to connect a controller and play away, making Stadia look like a chump in the process. Microsoft’s plans also include dedicated streaming devices that connect directly to televisions to enable game streaming without a console.

The company is considering new subscription options for Xbox Game Pass alongside this tech push. These would likely include some sort of streaming-only plan for players without dedicated Xbox consoles. It sounds like Microsoft is trying to out-Stadia Stadia, which seems like a very achievable goal given the current state of Google’s streaming service.

Check out the Xbox Wire post for more information on the future of Game Pass and Xbox game streaming, and be sure to be here Sunday for news from the Xbox & Bethesda E3 2021 press conference.

Kotaku elder, lover of video games, keyboards, toys, snacks, and other unsavory things.



Good for Microsoft. Personally I’ve found the Xbox libraries lacking the last gen or two, but I am impressed with how they’ve been doing the slow march towards this kind of cross-device, console-less ecosystem, no doubt driven on by a few internal champions thinking long-term rather than short-term.

This also should be seen as a major threat to any gaming ideas that Netflix is exploring. Honestly I’m having a harder and harder time imagining how Netflix could even break into the gaming market with players like Microsoft who have really pushed to get ahead of the curve and who have tons of hardware and software under their belt.

And frankly, if I were Sony I would be getting a little worried. In my opinion Sony has done a great job with its gaming library and hardware advancements, but their long-term cross-device/console-less strategy seems non-existent. Nintendo has managed to own a lower-powered, fun/innovative gameplay corner of the market, MS seems to be going after a distributed corner of the market, which leaves Sony doing... what? Defending their console-based fortress that relies on higher-powered hardware and quality titles? It seems like a comfortable spot in the near-term but technology has a way of eroding those kinds of comforts as it evolves...