Xbox “Keystone” Streaming Box Shelved Due to Price, Spencer Hopes to Hit $99 to $129 Range

Nathan Birch
Microsoft Xbox Keystone Samsung App

For years now we’ve heard rumors about an Xbox streaming box, codenamed Keystone, with a prototype even showing up on Phil Spencer’s infamous Easter-egg-laden shelf last month. That said, there’s been a number of hints the device may be on the backburner, and in a recent interview on the Decoder podcast (thanks to Video Games Chronicle for the transcription) Spencer confirmed we won’t be seeing an Xbox streaming box anytime soon.

The issue? They just couldn’t get the price low enough when they included a controller. In Spencer’s estimation an Xbox streaming box only makes sense if they can deliver it at a $99 to $129 price point, and they couldn’t make it there, partly because it sounds like they wanted it to run a version of the current Xbox firmware. So, instead the focus shifted to the recently-released Samsung TV gaming app

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“The console we built that now people have seen, Keystone, was more expensive than we wanted it to be when we actually built it out with the hardware that we had inside, and we decided to focus that team’s efforts on delivering the smart TV streaming app.

With Keystone, [we’re] still focused on it [and] when can we get the right costs, but when you’ve got Series S at $299, and like during the holidays you’ll see some price promotion, you’ll obviously have Series X higher, I think in order for a streaming-only box to make sense, the price delta to S has to be pretty significant. I want to be able to include a controller in it when we go do that. So, it was really just about if we could build the right product at the right price, or if we can’t, how can we focus the team’s effort? And we decided to go do the TV app with Samsung and we’re really happy with the results there.

I don’t want to announce pricing specifically, but I think you’ve got to be $129, $99, like somewhere in there for that to make sense in my view, that we just weren’t there. We weren’t there with the controller. And I love the effort. The reason it’s on my shelf is the team rolled up their sleeves and in nine months they built that thing. And a bunch of us took it home and it worked. It worked really, really well.”

It sounds like Spencer isn’t totally cold on the idea of reviving Keystone, we just have to wait a bit until the price is right. I guess we’ll see.

What do you think? Would a basic Xbox streaming box be something you’d be interested in?

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