Microsoft is bringing Xbox to smart TVs, letting gamers bypass the console
As consumers still hunt to get their hands on the latest video game console systems, Microsoft is taking steps to let them bypass the hardware.
The company, on Wednesday, announced plans to release an app for smart TVs that will let players stream games directly to the screen, even if they don’t have Xbox hardware.
Through the Xbox Game Pass program, gamers will be able to instantly access over 100 games, including Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, the premier games for the Xbox Series S and Series X. People without a Game Pass membership will still be able to play Fortnite for free.
Samsung will partner with Microsoft first, with an Xbox app appearing on 2022 Smart TVs starting June 30. Microsoft plans to partner with other TV manufacturers at a later date.
It’s a big leap for Microsoft that could lure in a new generation of players, who have been curious about some big game releases but reticent to lay out $300 to $500 for a new Xbox (or even more for a gaming PC). A monthly Netflix-like fee of $15 a month could be a lot more palatable.
Microsoft first talked about its ambitions to enable gaming directly on smart TVs last June. In the time since, it has been bulking up its Game Pass service and fine-tuning its cloud gaming division. That unit now has been deemed ready for prime time.
For the past few years, Microsoft has been shifting to a content service rather than a console company in the gaming space. As part of that, it has been buying up game makers, with the two most notable deals being the pending $69 billion acquisition of Activision-Blizzard and last year’s $7.5 billion purchase of Bethesda Softworks.
Sign up for the Fortune Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.