People will be able to play Xbox Game Pass games over cloud connection on 2022 Samsung Smart TVs.
Microsoft launches the Xbox app for smart TVs, allowing users to stream video games to their Xbox even if they don’t have consoles.
Microsoft said on Thursday it would first roll out the app to Samsung 2022 TVs and then extend the distribution to other manufacturers. It’s a bold bet for Microsoft, after Xbox hardware revenue grew 92% last year. The company announced that the app will be available from June 30 in 27 countries.
This move shows that Microsoft is focusing on revenue collection for gaming content and services, as opposed to consoles, where the company is lagging behind Nintendo and Sony. Microsoft’s biggest gaming splash came earlier this year when the company announced plans to buy a game publisher Activision Blizzard for $ 68.7 billion.
Games are Microsoft’s fourth-largest major product category, and the company aims to attract more users to its Game Pass subscription service, which costs $ 10 per month and includes an option for people playing on computers and streaming via the cloud.
The hardware industry took off in 2020 after Microsoft launched the Xbox Series X and S consoles, and as people spent more time playing games while offices and schools were closed due to the Covid pandemic. However, component shortages and recent blockages in China have hurt Microsoft’s ability to produce new consoles.
“We’ve been gaining market shares for two consecutive quarters and this quarter we are the market leader for next-gen consoles in the US, Canada, UK and Western Europe,” Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO told analysts in an April conference call.
But the overall picture is not so rosy. The London-based Ampere Analysis researcher estimated that Microsoft sold 7.7 million Xbox Series S and X consoles in 2021, while Sony sold 12.5 million PlayStation 5 systems, and Nintendo sold 24.3 million switches.
Gamers will be able to play the Xbox app using Bluetooth-connected Sony DualSense controllers as well as Microsoft’s Xbox wireless controllers.
By opening the game from the console, Microsoft goes where the players are playing. This means support for mobile devices with operating systems from Apple or Google. Over 25 million Game Pass subscribers can stream games from Microsoft’s data centers to these devices.
A year ago, Microsoft announced that the Xbox division is developing streaming devices for cloud gaming. The company will not require gamers to connect special devices to Samsung TVs in order to stream games via the Xbox app.
“We’ve made a decision to move away from the current iteration,” a streaming device codenamed Keystone, a Microsoft spokesman told CNBC in an email. “We will use our expertise and re-focus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to more players around the world in the future.”
Samsung is a leader in the smart TV market with a 21.3% share, according to Omdia, a research subsidiary of Informa Tech.
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