The pending launch of the Microsoft xCloud service has prompted speculation the company might launch streaming-only hardware to support it.
However, the company says it is currently focused on bringing xCloud to smartphones and has no plans to follow up the all-digital Xbox One console with an all-streaming device for xCloud.
However, while Microsoft isn’t working on dedicated xCloud hardware right now, the Xbox gaming chief appeared reluctant to rule one out in the future.
“We are not working on a streaming-only console right now,” Phil Spencer, told Gamespot. “We are looking at the phone in your pocket as the destination for you to stream, and the console that we have allows you to play the games locally.”
xCloud trials are currently scheduled to go public later this year, with the power of the cloud set to bring AAA gaming experiences to devices without the traditional processing power to run them. The strategy mirrors the Google Stadia strategy of providing all of the power in the back end, allowing pretty much anyone with a display to access the high-end gaming experiences.
In a similar fashion to Google Stadia, which promises to let people pick up and play titles across a multitude of devices, the xCloud core concept allows you to play Xbox games virtually anywhere. Where Project xCloud differs is that Microsoft still pictures the console and your living room as the centre of your gaming world – preferably while you’re hooked up to the best 4K TV you can afford.
Related: xCloud vs Google Stadia
For now, it appears the only hardware Microsoft is focused on its the Project Scarlet console. A second console, lower on the totem pole than Scarlett, had been rumoured was apparently cancelled.
In an interview with Business Insider earlier this year, Spencer admitted the narrowed focus, ahead of the launch of Project Scarlett in late 2020. “Last year we said consoles, and we’ve shipped a console and we’ve now detailed another console. I think that’s plural,” says Spencer. “Right now, we’re focused on Project Scarlett and what we put on stage.”