It's no secret that the current generation consoles, the Xbox Series X/S and the PlayStation 5, are both incredibly hard to find at retail price right now. Between the continued supply chain shortage and scalper bots making it really hard for players to snag them when retailers do restock them, there's consistently been a lack of supply to meet the demand for the new console.
But what if you didn't need the newest and greatest console to play the new games that hit the newest Xbox?
It seems Microsoft may be looking for another solution to make its games even more accessible to the general public. The company is reportedly working on the Xbox Streaming Stick, something that could work as an alternative to the console for those who can't get their hands on it (or simply aren't willing to spend that much money on one console). But what's the release date for a device like this? Here's what we know.
What is the Xbox Streaming Stick?
According to GamesBeat, Microsoft is in the process of creating the Xbox Streaming Stick to bring the games to you instead of waiting for you to come to Xbox.
The Xbox Streaming Stick would reportedly work similarly to an Xbox console, though instead of storing and streaming games on the device, it would instead stream the games to your television through cloud gaming.
If you're not already familiar with cloud gaming, the only caveat that makes it less-than-reliable is the need for a strong internet connection to stream the games. Microsoft has been expanding its cloud gaming offering in recent months, and it seems like the company plans to rely pretty heavily on it in the future.
If the current reports are to be believed, then the new device would function similar to an Amazon Fire Stick or a Roku.
There are also reports that suggest Microsoft is working closely with Samsung to develop an app for its TVs — meaning if you have a Samsung TV, you may not even need to purchase the separate device. Instead, you'll be able to open the app and (with an Xbox Game Pass subscription) stream the games you'd like to.
These are only just rumors at this point, but if they're to be believed then there could be a huge spike in the number of people playing Xbox games in the near future.
What's the projected release date for the Xbox Streaming Stick?
While these reports are still just rumors and Microsoft has not publicly commented on the validity of these plans, if they're to be believed then the new cloud gaming device could launch within the next 12 months.
At the same time, the company is also allegedly planning to release a family plan for Xbox Game Pass, bringing the company's games to even more people. While there has yet to be a confirmed release date for either of these products from Xbox, they could both arrive sooner than expected.