Microsoft Corp is partnering with Samsung Electronics Co to allow gamers to play Xbox games directly on their smart TVs without a console.
Starting June 30, hundreds of cloud-enabled games that come with your Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which costs $14.99 per month without promotional rates, will be available through Samsung’s Gaming Hub, similar to using any other streaming app on your TV.
Later this year, Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will be able to play some games they already own using the cloud and without downloading, even if the games aren’t currently in the Game Pass library. This expands the features of cloud gaming, which allows users to play on different devices and is currently only available for Game Pass titles.
“We’re building a platform that can reach billions of gamers, whether it’s on console, on PC, or through Xbox cloud streaming,” said Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming. “This is just fundamental to where Xbox is heading.”
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The agreement, announced Thursday, is part of an effort by Microsoft’s Xbox business to continue expanding beyond the console and to get more gamers to apply for Game Pass, a monthly service that helps smooth revenue fluctuations in an industry driven by big titles. . Microsoft said in January that Game Pass had 25 million subscribers. Xbox hasn’t updated subscriber numbers since, and last month, Kotaku reported that some game writers and tastemakers said they might at least temporarily drop Game Pass while they wait for big game releases that have been delayed until next year, like two highly anticipated upcoming games from studio Bethesda Softworks on Xbox.
Xbox said the company is getting more subscribers to play on PC — and that number has tripled since last November.
Last month, Xbox said the other part of its plan to bring cloud gaming to TVs, a streaming device, needed more time and a new strategy. The company told Windows Central that it has “made the decision to move away from the current iteration” of the device and “refocus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to more gamers around the world in the future.”
Microsoft will also launch a new program over the next year that will allow independent game developers to promote upcoming titles by sharing demos of their work with Game Pass members. With the program, called Project Moorcroft, participating developers will be able to track the performance of their demos and Microsoft plans to compensate them for their content.