Xbox Game Pass is already one of the best deals in gaming, but it seems Microsoft is hoping to make the service even more affordable by the end of 2021. Leading up to E3 2021, it was revealed that an Xbox TV app and xCloud streaming stick are well into development, which will give you access to the Game Pass catalog without the need for an expensive gaming PC or Xbox console.
The Game Pass TV app and xCloud streaming stick were first mentioned in late 2020, with Microsoft executives saying the technology should be available by the end of 2021. The company has been fairly quiet over the past few months prior to the latest announcement, but it’s proven time and again to be all in with Xbox Game Pass — giving folks without a console or PC a way to access its growing catalog seems like the next logical move for the service.
Unfortunately, E3 2021 has come and gone without a word about a TV app or streaming stick. Microsoft did announce plans for its own event following E3, so it’s possible we’ll learn more in the coming days.
Save Big with an Xbox Game Pass TV App or Streaming Stick
While Game Pass is arguably the most affordable way to play new video games, you still need to have access to an expensive Xbox console or PC to take full advantage of the service. Several games can be streamed to smartphones, but the full catalog isn’t included in the mobile lineup and you’re relegated to playing on a tiny screen — unless you’re willing to deal with a few clunky workarounds.
With a built-in TV app or streaming stick, you’d supposedly be able to access the entire Xbox Game Pass catalog with nothing more than a controller, active subscription and compatible TV. Not only does that make Game Pass accessible to a wider audience, but it also lowers the entry cost of the service — either download the free TV app or pick up the xCloud streaming stick, which shouldn’t cost more than $100.
Microsoft hasn’t announced which TVs will be compatible with the Xbox app, but the rumored xCloud streaming stick should work on all modern TVs and provide a cost-effective alternative to owning an Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S.
PlayStation and Nintendo Might Try to Fight Back
Microsoft is ahead of the curve when it comes to game streaming, and neither PlayStation nor Nintendo has a comparable service that offers the same value as Game Pass. PlayStation does offer its own subscription service — PS Now — but it’s not nearly as robust as Xbox Game Pass and hasn’t been able to find its footing among gamers. As for Nintendo, a few freebies are offered with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, although those are mostly just old titles from NES and SNES.
With Microsoft once again looking to up the ante, don’t be surprised if PlayStation and Nintendo decide to double down and bolster their offerings, too. PlayStation might have better exclusives — and Switch will always have Mario and Zelda — but when it comes to giving you the most bang for your buck, Xbox is miles ahead of the competition.
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