Microsoft is serious about turning your smart TV into an Xbox game console. In an interview with The Verge, Xbox head Phil Spencer has revealed a dedicated Xbox app is in the works for smart TVs and that may appear sometime next year.
“I think you’re going to see [an Xbox app for smart TVs] in the next 12 months. I don’t think anything is going to stop us from doing that. … What we used to call a TV was a CRT that’s just throwing an image on the back of a piece of glass that I’m looking at,” said Spencer.
The revelation of an Xbox app for smart TVs hints at Microsoft’s long-term vision to brings console-quality games to any device. The future of Xbox is not the hardware, something Spencer has clear multiple times in the past.
Under Spencer, Microsoft is betting on an entirely new strategy for its Xbox gaming division. While Sony wants to dominate the console war with the recently launched PlayStation 5, Microsoft is transitioning to a services model. The company currently offers Xbox Game Pass, a video game subscription service as well as xCloud (formerly called Project xCloud), a legit video game streaming service with the promise to bring high-quality, console-level games to smartphones and other devices.
Having a cloud-based game service means, Microsoft is now competing against Google and Amazon. Both tech behemoths have recently entered the gaming market with Stadia and Luna cloud-based game services. In a way, Microsoft is not competing with Sony and Nintendo, who are very much dependent on sales of consoles and games they sell to mint profit.
While Microsoft has no plans to exit the hardware market, it does want to diversify its portfolio. The launch of the Xbox Series S is a clear example of how Microsoft wants to get into the masses and families with the next-gen offering. “I don’t think these will be the last big pieces of hardware that we ship,” says Spencer. The head of Microsoft’s Xbox division previously hinted at a Chromecast-like stick made for XCloud cloud-based game service, though he did not reveal when the device will hit the market.