Jun 9, 2022 - Technology

Microsoft to offer Xbox cloud gaming on Samsung TVs

Screenshot: Microsoft

Microsoft’s plans to offer Xbox gaming without the need of an Xbox console are advancing this month with the rollout of a streaming app for new Samsung TVs.

Why it matters: Microsoft is trying to break down barriers in the games industry, where owning a specific, expensive device has often been a prerequisite to playing high-end video games.

Details: New 2022 Samsung TVs will support the new Xbox app starting June 30.

  • The plan colors in the specifics after Microsoft said a year ago it would bring cloud gaming to smart TVs.

How it works: As with the streaming tech used by Microsoft and competitors Sony, Google and Amazon, players won’t have physical access to the games or the machines running them.

  • Visual and audio data are streamed to the user’s TV via remote servers, as those servers receive the player’s controller inputs.
  • Users will need to have a controller and can use an Xbox One, a PS4 or PS5 controller or even an Amazon Luna controller.
  • Players will also need to have a $15/month Game Pass Ultimate subscription; the games available, including Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, will be from that service.

The big picture: Microsoft is chasing a potential multi-billion player market, offering a lower entry cost than the console and PC markets, where devices that run games cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

  • It’s also pushed cloud gaming on smartphones, tangling with limitations imposed by Apple along the way. (It has worked around them by also offering game streaming through web browsers.)

Other Xbox news emerged this morning from a business briefing meant to tee up the next year of Microsoft gaming initiatives:

  • The company is promising at least five new games across console, PC and cloud in their next fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2023. (Sunday’s Xbox gaming showcase will likely add specifics).
  • A new plan, code named Moorcroft and slated for next year, will add pre-release game demos to Xbox Game Pass, to offer subscribers the kind of months-in-advance hands-on time with slices of games that has usually been reserved for trade shows and public gaming events. Microsoft says indie developers will be the early focus for this plan and that game makers will be compensated for building demos.

They reiterated plans to keep Activision Blizzard’s popular multiplatform games (think Call of Duty) on rival platforms.

  • Xbox head of first-party games Matt Booty: “We feel that it’s our job to be caretakers, to be shepherds, to continue to build and nurture that community, not cut it up into pieces and try and take some of it away.”
  • But they still don’t clarify what that means for the eventual release of new installments of previously multi-platform franchises from their last multi-billion-dollar studio purchase Bethesda, which years from now will have a new Elder Scrolls game to release.

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