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Xbox Keystone streamer would have cost more than $100

As cloud gaming has improved, Microsoft hasn’t been so secretly working on an Xbox streaming device known as “Keystone,” but it turns out that a big part of why the company canned the project was price.

Last month, Xbox chief Phil Spencer revealed that the Xbox “Keystone” device had been canceled for now, with a dedicated piece of hardware for streaming from Xbox potentially “years” away. That news came unexpectedly just weeks after we got our first look at the hardware, and after numerous reports claiming the device was not far from a release.

In a new interview with The edgePhil Spencer offers a little more insight into why “Keystone” was canned.

Apparently the main reason comes down to the cost of the hardware. Xbox “Keystone” would have aimed for a price between $99 and $129. That’s well below the next Xbox device, the Series S, which costs $299. But that price didn’t include a controller, which would have pushed the cost up further.

In stark contrast, Google’s soon-to-be-closed Stadia game streaming platform worked with a native app on Android TV that enabled super-affordable hardware. That included the $50 Chromecast with Google TV and the $20 Walmart Onn streamer to play games with any Bluetooth controller or the optional $70 Stadia controller. Microsoft has since gone down a similar path, introducing an Xbox app on Samsung Tizen smart TVs, but not Android TV OS.

It’s still pretty unfortunate that “Keystone” has been on hiatus, as Spencer goes on to say that the device was pretty much done, saying that “a bunch of us took it home and it worked. It worked really, really well” and confirmed that it would have had an interface close to Xbox consoles. But it turns out the device isn’t as canceled as most people thought. Spencer teases that “we’re still focused on it and seeing when we can get the right cost.”

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