Streaming-only Xbox console rumors squashed by Microsoft

Streaming-only Xbox console
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Contrary to rumors, Microsoft is not working on a streaming-only Xbox console. In an interview with Gamespot, Microsoft’s executive VP of Gaming Phil Spencer set the record straight: the company isn’t working on a streaming-only Xbox console at the moment.

After the Redmond company announced last year that it is working on a game streaming technology (known as xCloud), as well as new game consoles, Spencer said that Xbox fans may have taken that to mean that a streaming console is in the works. 

The May 2019 release of the disc-less Xbox One S All-Digital Edition only fueled those rumors further. However, while this new console doesn’t play physical disc, it does require for games to be downloaded before you can play them.

We’re not that close to full-time game streaming yet

The good news is that Microsoft’s gaming division is still hard at work in making that console-quality game streaming service a reality. It’s indeed full steam ahead for this game-streaming technology.

According to Spencer, “We are not working on a streaming-only console right now. 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."

Dubbed Project xCloud, this technology is intended to complement Microsoft’s console hardware and give gamers the ability to utilize Xbox functionality through their other devices, perhaps with as little lag as possible. Currently in beta testing at the company, Project xCloud will be in public beta for select markets as early as September and to the rest of the gaming world by 2020.

As for whether or not a streaming-only Xbox console might still be in the stars, who knows? With the direction Microsoft is taking, a streaming-only console could still happen someday. Although, if this game streaming service proves to be a success, we probably won’t need one.

Michelle Rae Uy

Michelle Rae Uy is the former Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.