Skip to main content

We think the next best Android TV stick just might come from Microsoft

If the upcoming Microsoft Game Pass standalone device supports more than Game Pass, it will be hard to recommend anything better.

A whole lot of people using any of the best Android phones have tried Microsoft's Game Pass streaming service, and most people think it's a hit. It's not anything new — NVIDIA started streaming full-on console and PC titles to Android a long time ago, and now even Google is in the game with Stadia. Microsoft's edge is its large library of titles that people actually want to play, and it has reasonable rates: $15 each month gets you streaming on your console, PC, and Android phone, plus Xbox Live Gold and EA Play membership. Not. Too. Shabby.

There's plenty of content out there that goes into detail about Game Pass and why you should think about giving it a try if you haven't. It could be the future of mobile gaming and it might even be a reason to not even bother buying an expensive console. If nothing else, it is a great way to play high-quality games on almost every screen. Almost.

It's that almost part that Microsoft is determined to change because it wants you to be able to use Game Pass on every screen — which really means your television — without plunking down big money on a new Xbox. During the week that was E3, Microsoft had this to say in a blog post on its Xbox Wire page:

Xbox is working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Xbox experience directly into internet-connected televisions with no extra hardware required except a controller.

Xbox is building its own streaming devices for cloud gaming to reach gamers on any TV or monitor without the need for a console at all.

This isn't any breaking news, and chances are you've already read it in an article like this one. But this doesn't tell but half the story because I'm almost certain that if Microsoft were to build a cheap (and yes, it will need to be cheap) HDMI stick or dongle that lets you use Game Pass on any telly, it will run Android and do a lot more than just play Xbox games.

OK, this is pure speculation on my part right now because I actually reached out to the Xbox team and straight-up asked them about the software on this upcoming device. You can guess what the answer was: We have nothing more to say at this time. Fair 'nuff, that's exactly what we all expected Microsoft to say right now. But I'm not alone in thinking that Android would be involved, and with it would come more than just a way to play games.

Android Central also reached out to Evan Kubes, the president of Rumble Gaming and a really smart guy when it comes to the gaming industry with a couple of questions. Since Evan isn't directly employed by Microsoft, he can be more candid and say what he really thinks. We asked two questions that reach right for the heart of the matter:

Is it in Microsoft's best interests to build a version of its own Xbox software that will work with low-spec devices, or is using a pre-built solution like Android a simple and/or better solution?

Developing and owning IP - especially when it's software – will almost always be the preferred route. This is because it will generally offer more flexibility and freedom for the engineers to update and scale the product. Having said that, R&D can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming. Sometimes, it's just easier to license 3rd party products that are sufficient and achieve a similar result. In this case, I can't comment on whether Xbox using Android is a better solution, but it is likely a more cost-effective and time-efficient solution.

Do we expect inexpensive Game Pass stand-alone devices to have streaming media capabilities? If so, does this make it even more simple to use a solution like Android because the apps and services are already in place?

The transition from linear to digital media is happening very quickly. Younger generations, in particular, are consuming pretty much all of their content through digital means (OTT, Netflix, Twitch, YouTube, etc.). And arguably, nothing has benefited more from this transition than streaming platforms. I'd be shocked if Game Pass stand-alone devices did not have streaming media capabilities if, for nothing else, it can print money and acquire users quickly. So it makes total sense to use Android solutions because the apps and services are fully developed and seamless to use.

So yes, it would make total sense to see Microsoft use Android to power an upcoming HDMI stick, and because of that, it could put the same type of streaming media services in place that you would find on the Xbox itself. It would be better for Microsoft if it could find a way to shoehorn some build of Windows onto super-low spec hardware, but that's really not resource or time-friendly. Now stuff gets interesting because a cheap (I'm thinking under $100) TV box or dongle or HDMI stick or whatever from Microsoft would be the best Android TV (not to be confused with Android TV proper) experience of all of them.

This is because Microsoft has seen the writing on the wall and knows that right now, at least, Xbox is its revenue stream. Yes, almost every single business uses Windows computers, and there are like gazillions of them out there, but a desktop PC isn't something you buy every year. Unless you're like me and find new ways to break things, anyway. But a Game Pass subscription is something that a whole lot of people will happily pay for every month, and after X number of subs are gained, the rest is pure profit. Microsoft can and will make sure the cost of any Game Pass-ready device is reasonable and that it has features that make all of us want to buy one.

Buying today? Get a Shield TV. Buying tomorrow? See what Microsoft has for sale first.

If you ask me today what Android for the television experience you should buy into — and again I'm not just talking about Android TV the platform but a way to get Android working on your telly — I would say you should buy an NVIDIA Shield TV. They're not exactly cheap, but they are powerful and can play local Shield-optimized games. They can also stream Games from any gaming PC with an NVIDIA card, and you get access to all the streaming apps Android has to offer. Only one of these things is important to most people, and that's the "all the streaming apps" part. The Shield really stands out because NVIDIA seems keen on keeping it updated until the end of time.

That last bit is also why you should never ever ever buy a TV with Android TV built-in. Most companies hate to update stuff because it's not free. If you're an Android fan, you want things to be updated. Just buy a Shield TV until the Xbox Game Pass HDMI stick is available.

Yes, Stadia is a thing, and there will always be ways to make whatever Microsoft has to offer work on myriad devices, including grandma's old Jitterbug phone and a spliced AV cord. And if that's what you like to do, go for it because that's 1.) cool as hell and 2.) fun. But most people want to listen to Spotify, watch Netflix or Disney+, and maybe even play Halo Infinite or Fallout 4 (OK, I'm the only one who wants to play Fallout 4 but whatever). Microsoft is gonna kill this. I'm ordering one as soon as I can because I know it has potential.

Just because Skyrim has to appear somewhere.



Source: androidcentral

Popular posts from this blog

Genshin Impact: When does Update 2.0 release in my region?

Best answer: Server maintenance for Genshin Impact Update 2.0 will begin at 6 a.m. China Standard Time on July 21 (6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT on July 20). Maintenance is expected to last around five hours and will occur simultaneously for everyone. Does Genshin Impact server maintenance vary by region? Regardless of what time the server maintenance occurs, it will happen simultaneously for everyone. Server maintenance generally lasts around 5 or 6 hours, but given that Update 2.0 is the biggest one yet, it could potentially take even longer. Update 2.0 will release worldwide on July 20 or 21 depending on your time zone. What does Genshin Impact Update 2.0 include? There's a whole lot of content coming with Genshin Impact Update 2.0 . One of the biggest additions is the Inazuma region, which will be the first major region to be added to the game since its launch. It consists of six major islands with ports, mountains, shrines, villages, and more. With Inazuma also comes a new A

How to watch Love Island 2021: Live stream the new series online

Are you ready for another summer of love? A new group of hopefuls is set to descend on the Balearic Island of Majorca for the UK's most talked-about TV dating show. Watch every match-making moment with our Love Island 2021 live stream guide below, and watch the show no matter where in the world you are. After a coronavirus-enforced break from the screens last year, the show returns with Laura Whitmore back to host the romantic action and comedian Iain Stirling once again providing his wise-crackingly sarcastic voiceovers. There's £50,000 up for grabs for the reality show's winner, but that's likely to be some way down the pecking order of what's on the mind of the twenty-something contestants taking part. Viewers in the UK have been given an early glimpse of this season's hopefuls who include a teacher who has never been on a date before and the show's first physically disabled contestant. The last series to be broadcast from Mallorca was won in 201

There are many ways to copy and paste things from your Chromebook

It should come as no surprise that as time has passed everyone by, the best Chromebooks have progressed and become true productivity machines. And while there are a lot of awesome Chromebook tips and tricks that you won't find elsewhere, you'll likely want to know how to do some of the more basic tasks. One such task performed a plethora of times per day is simply copying and pasting text or other items from one place to another. So here's how you can copy and paste on a Chromebook. How to copy and paste with the touchscreen Locate the text that you wish to copy and paste. Double-tap the screen on the text that you wish to copy. Drag the highlight handles to highlight all of the text you want to copy. From the pop-up menu, tap Copy . Navigate to the area where you wish to paste the text. Tap and hold in the space where you wish to paste. Tap Paste from the menu that appears. Using the touchscreen on your Chromebook can be a bit finicky from time

Unmaze for Android is a stunning adventure through a sinister labyrinth

In a world of light and shadow, guide your loved ones through the maze before monstrosity overtakes them. Your little brother and your boyfriend have been missing for two days. Search parties and authorities aren't turning up any leads, and there's been a string of unsolved missing person cases in your town recently. Looking for answers, you find a strange blue crystal and some ominous notes about a lost civilization in your brother's room. And when you look into the crystal, you can see and hear your boyfriend?! This fascinating horror mystery setup is how Unmaze kicks off, and the plot only thickens from there. You play as Ariadne, a young woman trying to help recover her boyfriend, Theseus, and her younger brother, Asterion, from a mystical maze that she can only see through the crystal she found in Asterion's room. This phenomenal, weird title is definitely going in with the best Android games . Mechanically speaking, the gameplay in Unmaze is very simple,