Microsoft has already expanded the scope of its userbase from PC and console to mobile devices thanks to Xbox cloud gaming, but the gaming brand is now taking an extra step. Microsoft has announced a dedicated Xbox App is coming to Smart TVs starting with Samsung’s 2022 smart TVs on June 30th.
Playing Xbox games through the app is done solely through Cloud Gaming which Microsoft promises will “be a seamless experience, similar to using other streaming apps on your TV.” Currently, Cloud Gaming is technically in beta so only Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can try out over 100 playable Game Pass catalogue games through the TV app later this month. To play, users on the app must log into their Xbox account like on any other of its game services and pair a range of supported controllers via Bluetooth—not just Xbox controllers, but PlayStation’s DualSense and Dualshock 4 controllers as well.
Sadly for now anyway, the streaming resolution on Cloud Streaming through the TV app will be limited to a 1080p resolution at 60 fps, so no 4K streaming yet. The Xbox App for Samsung 2022 models will be available in 27 countries; while not listed outright, it can be assumed that includes countries where Cloud Gaming is already available, including the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and possibly many European countries. The announcement only notes the Samsung partnership as a part of the rollout of the app but nothing on if Microsoft’s gaming brand is coming to other TV manufacturers’ smart TVs.
“We are bringing the Xbox App to Samsung Smart TVs first, and our intent is to explore other TV partnerships as part of this next evolution in our vision,” Microsoft corporate vice president of Xbox gaming experiences and platforms, explains Ashley McKissick said in a statement.
The plan for an app was initially announced last year as a part of the company’s ambitions to expand its game ecosystem to other devices. Since then Microsoft has brought the service to iOS platform through the device’s browser, Even though Fortnite is not on either of Apple’s or Google’s app stores it’s free-to-play on both mobile platforms thanks to Microsoft’s cloud gaming service.
Microsoft also announced an expansion to their Xbox Design Lab program. As of today, users in 11 new countries can access the controller customization service, which now includes new pastel colors (Soft Pink, Soft Orange, Soft Green, and Soft Purple) and camo patterns (Mineral Camo, Arctic Camo, Forest Camo, Sandglow Camo and Blaze Camo).
As well, this year’s Pride controller went on sale on Xbox Design Lab today, allowing customization of controllers with “34 community flags in a fine, interwoven manner to celebrate the nuance, complexity, intersectionality, and strength of the many LGBTQIA+ communities.” “All other parts of the controller” are customizable, and engraving is available.