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Project Keystone: Xbox Cloud Gaming Streaming Stick - What We Know So Far

Many believe cloud streaming to be the future of gaming. And rightfully so, as the technology allows users to play their favorite games anywhere without needing a console. This is done by streaming the game via the internet to a user's TV or other device with a screen. However, the experience is far from perfect. In the past, gamers have frequently complained about unresponsive controls and laggy gameplay when using cloud-based services. However, as internet speeds improve, the experience of streaming games from the cloud is starting to feel identical to the traditional mode of play.

Individuals still need to subscribe to a service to access cloud gaming, though. Xbox and PlayStation already have their own respective streaming services available to the public. The problem is that accessing their cloud services requires a compatible device and a specific app. However, Xbox is looking to change that with its in-development streaming device, Project Keystone. 

How does Project Keystone work?

Xbox's streaming dongle, codenamed Project Keystone, connects to any TV or monitor via an HDMI input and allows users to stream games (per Windowscentral). Of course, this type of device has already existed for streaming video content, with Roku and Google Chromecast being the most popular. But it has never been done for gaming. And because Project Keystone is smaller in size than the Xbox One, it is perfect for anyone looking to make some extra space in a cramped living room. Fans have already started to speculate about what the teensy device could look like, creating their own mockup designs for it.

The specifications and the device's OS are currently unknown, but, as it was first spotted listed among Xbox OS, it will likely run on a compact Windows OS to access programs like Microsoft Movies. This would make it more powerful and give it more features than a standard Android OS.

Project Keystone is an exciting product because it utilizes Xbox's massively successful Xbox Game Pass. Keystone allows gamers to play hundreds of games for a monthly payment on any TV or monitor without needing to download anything. And as the Xbox Game Pass library expands, so will the number of games available on the Xbox Gaming Cloud service.

When will Xbox's Project Keystone release?

Microsoft has been toying with the idea of releasing a gaming streaming device for a while now. Way back in 2016, Windows Central reported that Microsoft had a streaming stick ready to go for E3 2016, but decided to cancel the device shortly before the event for an unknown reason.

Six years later, Microsoft still hasn't revealed a solid release date for a streaming device — and it looks like it won't be coming out for a while. A Microsoft spokesperson recently told Windows Central, "We have made the decision to pivot away from the current iteration of the Keystone device." The unnamed spokesperson clarified, "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." However, the spokesperson made sure to mention that whatever Xbox's streaming device turns out to be, it will be made available at a low cost.

Project Keystone will likely not appear at the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase on June 12, 2022, and so gamers will have to wait even longer before they can get their hands on an Xbox Cloud Gaming streaming device.