Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, has stated that Microsoft decided to put the development of its game streaming gadget on hold because the company was having trouble producing it at an affordable price. The standalone gadget, codenamed “Keystone,” was announced in the summer of 2017 and is intended to let gamers broadcast Xbox games to TVs or monitors without the need for an Xbox console.
Microsoft’s chief of gaming stated (as translated by VGC) on The Verge’s Decoder podcast that the business created Keystone and some staff took it home to test it (it was spotted in a snap of Spencer’s office last month), but that it was proving too pricey to produce.
He explained that the team had decided to prioritize producing the smart TV streaming app because “the console we designed that people have seen, Keystone, was more expensive than we wanted it to be when we really fleshed it out with the technology that we had inside.”
When you have Series S at $299 and, say, during the holidays you’ll see some price promotion, you’ll obviously have Series X higher, I think the price delta to S has to be pretty significant for a streaming-only box to make sense. “With Keystone, [we’re] still focused on it [and] when can we get the right costs.
When asked to elaborate, he said, “I want to be able to add a controller in there when we go do that.” Simply put, the question was whether or not we could create the right product at the right price, and if not, how to direct the team’s efforts. We went with Samsung to develop our TV app, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcomes.
Spencer continued by revealing his target range for Keystone’s retail pricing. I don’t want to disclose the pricing at this time, but I will say that I believe you need to be around $129 or $99 for that to make sense, and we were clearly not at that point. The controller wasn’t there when we arrived. That you went to such great lengths to explain it is appreciated.
That’s because, in nine months, the team pulled together and built it, which is why I have it on my shelf. Then a few of us tried it at our houses and had positive results. It was quite effective. Every time you create something new, you have to ask yourself, “Do I have the proper design?” Is the user interface you’re using the appropriate one? Can you convince people to buy from you?
And the price is a part of the customer proposition, and I think we all knew we were a little off there. Not wanting to get too far into hardware design, he continued, “but if this device is freestanding, I mean it’s not living on the power source of the TV, and the integrated circuits that are already in the TV, you have to make everything bespoke.
But we did simplify matters by choosing certain options. When turned on, it looks like an Xbox, the user interface works, and everything else does as well; however, the silicon choices we made at the time of design prevented us from reaching the price point we had hoped to achieve.
Last month, Phil Spencer expressed optimism that Xbox would introduce a game streaming device but cautioned that doing so could be “years away” in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard is primarily about acquiring King, the maker of Candy Crush, and not Call of Duty,
According to comments made by Xbox head Phil Spencer in an interview with The Verge. He added that he is willing to promise Sony and competition regulators that Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation for a longer period of time than is now stipulated in the agreement.