The Xbox Streaming Stick was intended to be a dongle-like device that you would plug into your TV and use to stream games instead of a console. However, the idea appears to have been scrapped in favor of an Xbox app built right into the 2021 and 2022 Samsung smart TVs.
News about the Xbox Streaming Stick has been pretty sparse lately. Xbox might have dropped that project in favor of others. With that said, let's take a look at the information available on the Xbox Streaming Stick and see what it can tell us about the future of Xbox gaming.
What is the Xbox Streaming Stick?
The Xbox Streaming Stick was designed as a dongle-like device meant to plug directly into a TV and allow you to play games via cloud streaming. Essentially, it would be like a small console that will work in concert with Xbox Game Pass subscriptions to stream games from the cloud.
Like the Xbox Series S, it won't be able to read discs, so physical copies of your games won't work with it. The Xbox Streaming Stick was reportedly slated to be the next step in Xbox's plan to move gaming towards a purely digital direction, one that also moves away from traditional consoles.
When will the Xbox Streaming Stick be released?
In April 2023, no one really knows when the Xbox Streaming Stick will be released. In early 2022, there were rumors and hints that the Xbox Streaming Stick (sometimes codenamed Project Keystone) would be released in 2023. However, new evidence has revealed otherwise.
In October 2022, Phil Spencer (the CEO of Microsoft Gaming) mentioned during an interview that the Xbox Streaming Stick idea has been temporarily dropped in favor of investing resources in the Xbox app built into Samsung Smart TVs.
In that same interview clip, Spencer mentioned that he has a prototype of the Xbox Streaming Stick, which confirms its existence beyond a shadow of a doubt. However, this prototype has apparently been sitting while other, more promising projects are being developed.
Xbox Streaming Stick Release Date Speculation
For various reasons, the Xbox Streaming Stick is highly unlikely to be released in 2023. If it is released, it will likely be in 2024. However, if it doesn't appear in ads or stores in 2024, it would be prudent to assume that the project has been abandoned and will simply not reappear in 2025.
The Xbox Streaming Stick would likely be much cheaper than a traditional console. It doesn't require as much hardware as it's only designed to enable cloud gaming on a TV. The lack of hardware will mean lower production costs than consoles, which, in turn, means a lower price for consumers. Considering these points, it stands to reason that Microsoft will try to sell as many consoles as possible before releasing the Xbox Streaming Stick, as it would bring them the most profit. That is if this device is released at all.
We also have to look at what Xbox is currently doing with their marketing: they are heavily promoting the Xbox app which is integrated into the 2021 and 2022 Samsung smart TVs. As Phil Spencer said in the interview mentioned above, it's the project Xbox is focusing on instead of the Xbox Streaming Stick. It fulfills the same role but is probably cheaper and easier to implement. Since this project is already underway, Xbox is unlikely to release a redundant service like the Xbox Streaming Stick in 2023.
Finally, keep in mind that the marketing of consoles and similar devices always begins months (up to a year) before the release of said product. As of this writing in April 2023, there has been no official word on the Xbox Streaming Stick's release date or price, only speculation from journalists. That rules out a summer or fall release of the Xbox Streaming Stick in 2023. There's a small possibility that adverts for it will start popping up in the fall for a Christmas release - or something like that - but that's not. is not very likely.
Xbox Streaming Stick: Pros and Cons
Streaming devices in the form of dongles that plug into one of your TV's HDMI ports have become popular for a reason: people love them! The Xbox Streaming Stick appears to have been designed to fall into a similar niche of consumer satisfaction.
However, what's even more convenient than a streaming stick you have to buy and plug in is an app on the devices you already use. In the age of modern conveniences, people will undeniably flock to the option that involves the least amount of work.
The benefits of the Xbox Streaming Stick
Being a small device, the Xbox Streaming Stick would be easy to handle, plug into a TV, and wouldn't consume a lot of power. Plus, unlike more traditional consoles, you don't have to find a place to put it; it can stay hidden behind your TV in its HDMI port forever.
Unlike a traditional console, it would probably be much cheaper. As we mentioned before, the production costs due to much less hardware components would definitely lead to a lower price than a newly released console.
The Xbox Game Pass system is already well established and frequently used by Xbox gamers. The Xbox Streaming Stick would work with this subscription service intuitively and conveniently. Plug in the key, subscribe and start playing right away: it's as simple as a process can be.
Cons of the Xbox Streaming Stick
Since it only uses cloud gaming, you will need a strong internet connection. Otherwise, you'll be dealing with a ton of lag and choppy gameplay. This is not a big problem for people in urban areas. However, those in rural areas may have problems with this aspect. Also, if the internet goes down, you won't be able to play games at all. That said, the same goes for the Xbox app on the 2021 and 2022 Samsung smart TVs.
Like the Xbox Game Pass service it would integrate with, the Xbox Streaming Stick would likely be locked to a maximum resolution of 1080p. With 4K (and 8K) TVs becoming cheaper and more available, this would be a big downside as it would force gamers with higher quality TVs to play video games at half (or less) the visual quality. For that, and the new Xbox app on Samsung TVs, Xbox will soon have to start downloading games in 4K to satisfy the gaming community.
While reading this article, you've probably noticed all the comparisons we make between the Xbox Streaming Stick and the Xbox app on Samsung TVs. This is because they would compete with each other if the streaming stick were released. They fulfill the same need, but one is simply more convenient than the other.
However, if people don't own a 2021 or 2022 Samsung smart TV, the Xbox Streaming Stick would be a preferable option as it doesn't require consumers to buy a new TV. Depending on your gaming tech needs, you'll either get a 2021 or 2022 Samsung Smart TV or an Xbox Streaming Stick; never both.