In the battle for console gaming supremacy, companies are fighting to devise more ways to make their ecosystems more accessible. But what if the future of console gaming didn’t already include a console?
For years, Microsoft fans have been waiting for the much-awaited game streaming dongle, which could expand the Xbox gaming world like never before. With Project Keystone, the Xbox lifestyle and exclusive titles will become accessible to more players.
So what do we know about Project Keystone and how does it fit into the Xbox ecosystem?
What is the Keystone Project?
After years of speculation, Microsoft has confirmed the development of a cloud gaming dongle. Like Google Chromecast, the dongle will be able to stream Xbox games over Wi-Fi.
While it remains unclear whether the stick will use a USB or HDMI connection, the dongle will allow gamers to stream on screens of every type, such as smart TVs, monitors, etc.
In a statement to Windows Centrala Microsoft spokesperson officially confirms the Xbox streaming rumors:
“Our vision for Xbox Cloud gaming is consistent, and our goal is to enable people to play the games they want, on the devices they want, and wherever they want. As we announced last year, we’ve been working on a game streaming device, codenamed Keystone, that can connect to any TV or monitor. without the need for a controller.”
In March 2022, the name Keystone also appeared in the list of Xbox operating systems. With this said, the dongle will likely include a lighter version of its current Xbox operating system and may enable users to stream a variety of other content as well.
However, it’s important to note that Microsoft likely won’t release the much-anticipated streaming stick within the year. According to the statement, Microsoft is still working on designing a device that can meet the needs of its community and has not yet reached a production-ready iteration.
“As part of any technology journey, we are constantly evaluating our efforts, reviewing what we’ve learned, and making sure we deliver value to our customers. We’ve made the decision to move away from the current iteration of Keystone. We will take the learning and refocus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to more gamers. around the world in the future.”
As of this writing, there are still no official details on the final features and launch of the Keystone project. In the meantime, there’s a look at its short history and what it could mean for the Xbox ecosystem.
Microsoft’s Game-Streaming Dongle has evolved over the years
While it might be obvious why Microsoft developed a dongle with the prevalence of streaming sticks on the market today, the Xbox dongle has been rumored to have been in the works for years.
In 2016, YouTuber Brad Sams mentioned how Microsoft was set to release a streaming Xbox dongle during E3 2016. According to Windows CentralMicrosoft was scheduled to order 300,000 units of the rumored Xbox streaming device before E3 2016. However, the tech giant decided at the last minute to cancel the launch.
Nicknamed Project Hobart, a streaming stick would have retailed for $99 with enough power to stream Xbox games over Wi-Fi. While Microsoft hasn’t mentioned any official reason for the gaming dongle being delayed, there are plenty of potential reasons why it didn’t launch, such as PlayStation4 Pro leaks or problems with Windows 10 IoT.
How Project Keystone plays a role in cloud gaming
Although no release dates have been set, Project Keystone’s confirmation has gamers excited about the potential cloud gaming integration. with Xbox games on the cloudGame Pass Ultimate subscribers can access over 100 high-quality console games and meet other members of the Xbox community.
In the end, inserting a streaming stick can completely eliminate the need for a console. On the other hand, the dongle can complement the experience for gamers who want to bring Xbox exclusive games with them while living life on the road.
With a streaming dongle, Game Pass will definitely become more accessible for users on a budget, which could greatly increase the size of the Xbox community.
The future of Xbox gaming
With Microsoft confirming the Keystone project, it’s only a matter of time before dongles pave the way for Xbox cloud gaming in the future. By adding more affordable hardware options, streaming hardware can provide existing gamers with more choices, make playing easier, and help grow the Xbox community.
Combined with the ever-growing library of content on Game Pass, the eventual launch of Project Keystone will likely set an exciting precedent for the future of the Xbox ecosystem.