It’s called “Keystone” and it works very differently from the Xbox Series X.
Microsoft is planning to develop a new Xbox console, but it’s not quite the Xbox Series X successor you might be thinking of. Dubbed “Keystone”, this new console will aim to bring cloud gaming to the masses, so you can play the latest games for less.
Microsoft’s new Xbox console
As reported by Windows Central, the Keystone console does not contain powerful hardware. Instead, it will act as a hub through which you can play cloud games through the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate plan.
Since the hardware is designed purely for streaming instead of rendering graphics, the cost of the console is expected to be much lower than Microsoft’s flagship console, the Xbox Series X. And because of that, it doesn’t there is apparently no way to download games to it or put a game disc in the Keystone console; it can only handle games played on the cloud, where graphics are rendered off-console.
On top of that, the new console will probably be tiny:
The current Keystone iteration internally is about an inch thick and has a square form factor similar to the top of a shaved Xbox Series X. The final version released for consumers, however, may look quite different, but it’s the kind of small size and sleek design that Microsoft is after.
There’s no set release date yet, but hopefully more details will emerge soon.
A new life for Keystone
If the word “Keystone” sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve heard of its first iteration. We’ve reported on its first form before, as the Keystone originally appeared as a streaming dongle. However, it looks like Microsoft has since backtracked on that plan.
Its second life as a streaming console is very interesting. The world is no stranger to such devices; for example, Google’s Stadia has a device through which games are streamed. But this is not always necessary; for example, you can actually play Stadia games on your Xbox.
As such, this new iteration of Keystone is nothing new to the tech world. However, this is a new frontier in the console wars, as Sony and Nintendo have yet to release a cheap, cloud-dependent version of their console. And if gamers massively adopt cloud gaming, Microsoft could tap into a whole new market of inexpensive consoles that act as a bridge between the gamer and the cloud.
Is this console the key to cloud gaming?
While Keystone doesn’t seem to be pushing into new ground, it’s definitely leading the charge in the console market. We’ll have to see how this new console develops; that is, if it even reaches daylight.