Microsoft is bringing Xbox Game Pass to new Samsung TVs, no Xbox required

The Xbox app will let you stream games straight to your TV without dedicated console hardware.

Person plays game on TV

Microsoft’s partnership with Samsung has been rumored for weeks now.

Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft is entering new territory for its Xbox Game Pass subscription platform: smart TVs, no Xbox required.

On Thursday, the company announced a partnership with Samsung to bring a dedicated Xbox app to the electronics giant’s newest line of TVs, so subscribers to Game Pass can stream games straight to the display. You won’t need an Xbox, PC or any other separate hardware save a game controller to link with the Samsung display. You will, however, need a good internet connection to stream Xbox games from the cloud. The app will be distributed to compatible Samsung sets starting June 30.

The news marks a pivotal moment for Microsoft’s gaming division and an initiative it’s now calling “Xbox Everywhere.” The vision is to make its library of Xbox games available on virtually any screen, using cloud gaming in the absence of dedicated Xbox or PC hardware. The company is starting with Samsung, but it says it wants to work with other TV makers in the future, too.

Microsoft’s partnership with Samsung has been rumored for weeks now, and the company said a year ago that it had ambitions to make Game Pass available on smart TVs and through dedicated set-top box hardware. The company is in the process of building its own streaming device, said to be similar to a Roku puck, but it’s still in the development stage, according to a report from Windows Central last month. Microsoft isn’t sharing any new details about the device, codenamed “Keystone.”

That way, the company can sign up new Game Pass subscribers and grow its audience, even if those customers don’t own pricey consoles or gaming computers, and especially if they might be new to the hobby and hesitant to drop hundreds of dollars on hardware and software to get started.

Microsoft took the first steps toward this vision with the launch of its cloud gaming platform in 2020. Since then, the company has expanded access from PCs and Android phones to iOS devices and Xbox consoles, the latter allowing players to quickly try games without downloading them and to stream more graphically intensive titles on older Xbox hardware.

Going forward, one of the primary goals of Microsoft’s Xbox strategy is to expand its customer base well beyond the console audience, which includes a few hundred million customers worldwide but pales in comparison to the world’s billions of smartphone owners. “As we look to make gaming more accessible to even more people, and reach the three billion players globally, we’ve invested heavily in the cloud,” Xbox Cloud Gaming chief Catherine Gluckstein wrote in a blog post last month detailing the Xbox Everywhere initiative.

Gluckstein’s boss, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, has said similar versions of this countless times over the past few years. “At some point in our future, more people are going to be part of the Xbox community on mobile than they are on any other device, just by the nature of how many mobile phones there are,” Spencer told Axios last year.

Microsoft is planning a number of updates to Xbox Game Pass in the coming months. The company is expanding the subscription service to Argentina and New Zealand, and later this year it will let subscribers to Game Pass’ pricier Ultimate tier stream purchase games from the cloud, even if those titles are not part of its subscription platform. (Right now, Microsoft’s cloud gaming platform only supports Game Pass games.)

It’s also working on launching something it’s calling Project Moorcroft, a specialized game demo program just for Game Pass subscribers that sounds similar to Sony’s planned game demo program for its competing PlayStation Plus platform.


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Niantic's new standalone messaging and social app, Campfire, is a way to get players organizing and meeting up in the real world. It launches today for select Pokémon Go players.

Image: Niantic

Pokémon Go sent Niantic to the moon. But now the San Francisco-based augmented reality developer has returned to earth, and it’s been trying to chart its way back to the stars ever since. The company yesterday announced layoffs of about 8% of its workforce (about 85 to 90 people) and canceled four projects, Bloomberg reported, signaling another disappointment for the studio that still generates about $1 billion in revenue per year from Pokémon Go.

Finding its next big hit has been Niantic’s priority for years, and the company has been coming up short. For much of the past year or so, Niantic has turned its attention to the metaverse, with hopes that its location-based mobile games, AR tech and company philosophy around fostering physical connection and outdoor exploration can help it build what it now calls the “real world metaverse.”

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Nick Statt

Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.

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The court ruled 6-3 that the EPA cannot use the Clean Air Act to regulate power plant greenhouse gas emissions. That leaves a patchwork of policies from states, utilities and, increasingly, tech companies to pick up the slack.

The Supreme Court struck a major blow to the federal government's ability to regulate greenhouse gases.

Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Striking down the right to abortion may be the Supreme Court's highest-profile decision this term. But on Thursday, the court handed down an equally massive verdict on the federal government's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. In the case of West Virginia v. EPA, the court decided that the agency has no ability to regulate greenhouse gas pollution under the Clean Air Act. Weakening the federal government's powers leaves a patchwork of states, utilities and, increasingly, tech companies to pick up the slack in reducing carbon pollution.

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The idea of creating a government-sanctioned private regulatory association has been drawing more attention in the debate over how to rein in a fast-growing industry whose technological quirks have baffled policymakers.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

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Benjamin Pimentel

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Dmitri Alperovitch (the co-founder and former CTO of CrowdStrike) speaks at RSA Conference 2022.

Photo: RSA Conference

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