Ever since Microsoft announced the Xbox streaming device, Project Keystone, there has been discussion surrounding its release date, as we know that it is in production, and has been teased numerous times, on multiple occasions. However, it now appears that the release date will be pushed back longer than originally anticipated, presumably because Microsoft is unable to reach a price range that will appeal to consumers.
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Xbox CEO Phil Spencer recently discussed the streaming console and the company’s current position in a podcast with The Verge. Phil explained why Microsoft is putting the brakes on Keystone for the time being.
The console we built that now people have seen, Keystone, was more expensive than we wanted it to be when we actually built it out with the hardware that we had inside, and we decided to focus that team’s efforts on delivering the smart TV streaming app,”
A streaming console works similarly to a standard console, only you can only play games via streaming them over the internet. Since games wouldn’t have to be played directly on the console’s hardware, the price tag would be substantially lower; nevertheless, Spencer revealed that Microsoft’s Xbox team was unable to reduce the price to something reasonable, which led to the delay.
It was more expensive than we wanted it to be when we actually built it out with the hardware that we had inside. We decided to focus that team’s effort on delivering the smart TV streaming app.”
Early this year, Xbox and Samsung announced a partnership that will see the Xbox app pre-installed on all new Samsung smart TVs. Even while Spencer claimed last month that Samsung made the prototype, rising costs and a poor supply chain ultimately prevented the Keystone from being priced competitively.
According to Spencer, Keystone kept reaching pricing that was too close to that of the Xbox Series S, which already supports both streaming and native game play. Without a substantial price drop compared to an Xbox Series S, consumers would be unlikely to sacrifice the option of owning a console and playing games directly in favor of Keystone.
Considering that you can get an Xbox Series S Digital Edition for roughly $299, Keystone would need to be priced far lower to compete. Phil stated that the price for Keystone would be $130; however, the company is hoping to reduce the price even more; and, since Xbox is also considering including a controller, this surely doesn’t help with cost reduction.
We’ll have to wait for Microsoft’s next announcement to find out where the company chooses to cut corners, which should be interesting.