(Image is of a 3rd party Switch add-on, edited)
Conceptualizing a what now?
I was thinking about the idea of an xCloud streaming only portable gaming device.
Sure, Xbox isn’t in the business of selling portable gaming consoles. But they are most definitely in the business of selling Gamepass.
Such a device would only be a convenient portable streaming device specifically for Gamepass streaming. No processer, storage or memory designed to run games. All are geared to streaming. Much like a $30 Chromecast device.
Adding a 1080p 7 inch screen (OLED if costs permit; touch input desirability is debatable), 5G, Bluetooth, Wifi support, a suitable battery, headphone jack and a built in controller are the only major components remaining.
Considering the lack of processing and memory required, battery cost is also reduced. Battery life could be quite exceptional if large enough.
Why a Series P?
I look at markets like Japan and think that it’s necessary for Gamepass adoption. I contrast it to the “convenience” of carrying a full sized Xbox controller, or using your phone with any controller add-on. I look to the #1 selling console in Japan in the form of the Switch and see MS moving more units of a Series P than the Series consoles.
Note how well the Switch Lite sold.
Speaking of which, I imagine a device with a form-factor similar to it. A bit bigger screen would be nice though.
But for $149?
How much would and should this cost? Amazon is selling budget tablets, likely at a loss, to sell their own books and entertainment on it. The Fire 8HD comes with a decent processor, RAM, 8 inch screen, and 32GB storage for $80! Replace the processor and RAM for the minimum needed, and get rid of that storage. It seems quite realistic that such a device could retail for $149. Like the Amazon tablet this is definitely a product that would be a loss leader considering that it’s absolutely useless without a Gamepass subscription.
There are other nice to have features like a micro HDMI-out so you could turn any TV into a Gamepass streaming device. I’d argue that this adds a lot of value.
I would personally use it with console streaming even at home. Toilet gaming isn’t for me but, hey, if that’s your thing you can access your Xbox right there on the unholy throne (Xbox Series T amirite lol).
Reasons why this isn’t the hottest idea…
I’ll admit that in non-5G markets it’s a tougher sell. Without 5G, latency would be noticable as the experience would invariably be compared to handheld devices like the Switch. The console streaming experience could actually be pretty good with 5GHz Wi-Fi home networks ensuring low latency and plenty of bandwidth.
I’ve originally wrote this post months ago, adding to it little by little, and am posting it now after the Switch OLED and Steam Deck reveal. I personally think a Series P could offer something new even with these competing products. An incredibly low price for visuals that are even better than the Deck. Access to hundreds of games (and your own library) without dealing with limited storage. The only drawback being that you need a 5G connection, or streaming over your home network, for an experience indistinguishable from a portable gaming device on your portable streaming device.
Any oversights in this idea? Any features missing? Any costs missing? Any drawbacks or obstacles that I’m missing? Is that price target unattainable? Can it be even lower? Is the idea of a streaming-only device a bad one?
Let me know what you think!