Microsoft, which just deployed the next generation of its Xbox gaming console, is also 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.
“I don’t think anything is going to stop us from doing that," Spencer said.
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. Microsoft would be simply extending xCloud to another device category.
But Microsoft might not use an app to do this with smart TVs. 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 version for 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 research company Conviva, gaming consoles account for around 10% of connected TV viewing time, 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 apps would drive these users to other connected TV hardware platforms.
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