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Xbox patent offers first look at scrapped Keystone streaming console

Microsoft killed its cloud-powered streaming device back in 2022, but the newly discovered patent gives an idea of what could have been.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 26, 2024

1 Min Read
Design mockup of the scrapped Xbox Keystone streaming console.
Image via Microsoft/US Patent & Trademark Office.

A December 2023 patent newly spotted by Windows Central provides a glimpse of Keystone, which would've been a streaming console for the Xbox ecosystem.

It's been long enough to possibly forget, but Xbox was looking to get into cloud streaming hardware via the Keystone console and streaming stick. CEO Phil Spencer first teased the latter in 2022, only to then reveal it'd been shelved the following month out of pricing concerns.

Had it seen the light of day, it would've accelerated Xbox's cloud streaming plans, which it'd been pushing that year via Game Pass and deals with the likes of Ubisoft, Meta, and more.

Filed on June 1, 2022, the patent shows Keystone at multiple angles. Other than its square design (similar to the original PlayStation), it would've functioned like a regular modern Xbox console, with the similar USB and HDMI ports and pairing button we've seen on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.

Microsoft never got its head out of the cloud

At the time, it seemed the Keystone was ready to be unveiled, if not release, relatively soon. But when it was shelved, Spencer said it would've been "more expensive than we wanted," indicating it would've gone past the desired price range of $99-$129.

Despite being put on ice, Xbox hasn't abandoned its plans for the cloud. It's merely pivoted the technology to other avenues, like third-party handhelds, smart TVs, and possibly its own handheld that Spencer's indicated exists in some form.

And as we learned from Microsoft's self-leaked documents, the company is looking at making its next Xbox console into a hybrid cloud-powered system by 2028, with equally cloud-powered games to boot.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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