Microsoft rumoured to be making dongle for game streaming

Microsoft Windows 11
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Game streaming is a clear focus for many companies right now. Nvidia's been bringing its GeForce Now service to all sorts of devices including TVs, and the company's latest keynote had a focus on streaming infrastructure. Sony has even revamped its PlayStation Plus to include cloud streaming options, but it's hard to go past Microsoft's damned good value efforts with GamePass and its potential when integrated with streaming.

Being able to stream and play games, regardless of the hardware you own is definitely appealing, and bundling Xbox's game subscription service into that gives players heaps of potential options. There are a seriously large amount of great games offered on Microsoft's service, it may be getting a family plan soon, and now more people may have a chance to play them.

Windows Central has recently got word that Microsoft is working on an affordable dongle option for people to stream and play via Xbox Cloud Gaming. The idea is similar to something like a Chromecast but for running Microsoft's gaming platform. It's currently codenamed Keystone and while it's been rumoured for a while, this is our first time hearing any official confirmation of the device. It sounds like an official release could still be a fair while off though.

“Our vision for Xbox Cloud Gaming is unwavering, our goal is to enable people to play the games they want, on the devices they want, anywhere they want. As announced last year, we’ve been working on a game-streaming device, codename Keystone, that could be connected to any TV or monitor without the need for a console," a Microsoft spokesperson told Windows Central.

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"As part of any technical journey, we are constantly evaluating our efforts, reviewing our learnings, and ensuring we are bringing value to our customers. We have made the decision to pivot away from the current iteration of the Keystone device. We will take our learnings and refocus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to deliver Xbox Cloud Gaming to more players around the world in the future.” 

While that commitment to low cost hardware sounds promising, this statement also implies we shouldn't be expecting to see Keystone on sale for a while. It looks as though Microsoft still has a fair amount of work to do on this rumoured project before it sees the light of day. But it could be that the next generation of consoles are actually a lot smaller than our current behemoths, if game streaming has anything to say about it.

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Vooks.net. Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast right here.

No, she’s not kidding.