Microsoft, which just deployed the next generation of its Xbox gaming console, is looking to virtualize the Xbox platform on smart TVs.
Speaking to The Verge, Phil Spencer, executive VP of gaming for Microsoft, said an Xbox app for smart TVs should become available within the next year.
Microsoft already has an Xbox app for PCs and mobile devices, which lets users play cloud-based games via the company’s xCloud streaming service.
In addition to an app, Spencer has also recently mentioned the possibility of Microsoft deploying an Xbox HDMI dongle as a means of making the living-room set a device for cloud-based gaming.
With the release of its latest Xbox iteration earlier this month, Microsoft is segmenting between serious and casual gamers, delivering the high-horsepower Series X console to the former and the lighter, cheaper Series S to the latter. A gaming app that runs on the limited computer power of smart TVs would probably compete for the Series S market.
Migration of a significant portion of the casual gaming audience away from consoles would impact the competitive connected-TV market. According to Q3 data compiled by Conviva, gaming consoles account for around 10% of connected TV viewing, with the Xbox and Sony PlayStation consoles somewhat evenly split in terms of consumption.
Given that many of these console owners are also using their device to stream Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and other OTT services, replacing consoles with gaming apps would drive these users to other connected-TV platforms.
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