(Pocket-lint) - It has been known for some time that Microsoft is looking at reducing the footprint of Xbox hardware, offering a device more like a streaming dongle to improve accessibility to games.
Having used a traditional model of suppling hardware consoles, the evolution of Xbox Cloud Gaming in 2021 provided the framework to get those games to more people without using a console.
Xbox confirmed it was working on such plans in 2021, saying "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."
The codename for the project - as confirmed to Windows Central by Microsoft is Keystone. But it appears that this is still very much a project in development:
"As part of any technical journey, we are constantly evaluating our efforts, reviewing our learnings, and ensuring we are bringing value to our customers. We have made the decision to pivot away from the current iteration of the Keystone device. We will take our learnings and refocus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to deliver Xbox Cloud Gaming to more players around the world in the future," Microsoft is reported to have said.
That "pivot" suggests that Microsoft still has some way to go before any such device will make it to market, although that doesn't stop the speculation that we might see something that the Xbox and Bethesda showcase in June 2022.
What we really don't know is the scope of any such device. Is the aim to provide an Xbox entertainment device that encompasses other streaming technologies, rivalling devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku, or will it be a single-function device that leverages Xbox Games Pass to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to your TV?
Whatever the final answer is, we're expecting a simple device that connects to your TV via HDMI and hooks up to your Wi-Fi network, offering controls via and Xbox controller. In May 2022 it was reported that the new device was coming in the "next 12 months", but from this latest reading, there's still some way to go.