Microsoft has announced that it’s launching its Xbox TV app on June 30th, which will allow users to play Xbox games without a game console. The company has partnered with Samsung to bring the new Xbox gaming experience to the manufacturer’s 2022 smart TVs. The new TV app is launching in 27 countries. Microsoft notes that it’s bringing the Xbox app to Samsung smart TVs first, and that it plans to explore other TV partnerships in the future.
The company notes that playing Xbox games on 2022 Samsung smart TVs gives Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members instant access to over 100 cloud-enabled games, including Xbox Game Studios titles on the same day they release. Fortnite will be available to stream for free even if you’re not a Game Pass Ultimate member.
You can start playing via the new app by accessing it from the Samsung Gaming Hub and logging into your existing Microsoft account. If you’re new to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can sign up directly the app. Next, you’ll have to connect your Bluetooth-enabled controller like the Xbox Wireless Controller, Xbox Adaptive Controller, Elite Series 2 Controller or the DualSense controller.
“We’re super excited by what this next step means for all you gamers out there,” Ashley McKissick, the corporate vice president of Xbox gaming experiences and platforms, said in a blog post. “With this rollout, we’re making it easier than ever to play games on the devices you already own. With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and a controller, you can easily jump into the world of gaming and connect with your friends and communities on Xbox.”
Microsoft notes that if you’re new to gaming, this is an easy way to start playing without needing to buy a PC or a console. Today’s launch indicates that Microsoft is focused on increasing revenue via gaming content and services, not just simply through console sales.
As part of today’s announcement, Microsoft also shared that later this year, it plans to roll out the ability for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to play, from the cloud, select games they already own or have purchased outside the Xbox Game Pass library.
Microsoft also revealed the first details of what it calls Project Moorcroft, which is a program that will bring curated demos of upcoming games for Xbox Game Pass members. Project Moorcroft will begin rolling out within the next year and will start by focusing on giving independent developers a chance to create buzz around their games. Developers who are part of the program will be able to see how their demos perform, while also being compensated.
It’s worth noting that time-limited game trials are one of the perks of Sony’s revamped PlayStation Plus subscription offering, which will directly compete with Microsoft’s Xbox Game pass.
The company also announced that Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) is opening up to players in Argentina and New Zealand. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members in these two countries can now play games from the cloud on Apple and Android phones and tablets, Windows PCs, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles and soon on Samsung smart TVs.
In addition, the company says it’s continuing to collaborate across Microsoft with new updates coming to Windows 11. Microsoft is testing optimizations for windowed games, which will improve latency and unlock new features such as Auto HDR and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). There will also be a new Game Pass Widget that will allow players to browse and discover games from Game Pass and jump back into their recently played titles.
Microsoft will also launch exclusive new gaming features for the desktop version of Microsoft Edge, which will be coming soon. There will be a new personalized gaming home page that will feature news, game guides, livestreams, game highlights, tournaments, upcoming and newly released games, along with the Xbox Cloud Gaming library. The company is also going to launch efficiency mode, which will help enhance gaming performance on Windows 10 and 11 to keep games running smoothly by automatically reducing browser resource usage when a PC game is launched. Microsoft notes that a new “Built-in Clarity Boost” feature will make gameplay from the cloud look clearer when playing in the Microsoft Edge browser on Windows.
Today’s announcement comes as Microsoft has been spending big on Game Pass, as the company has acquired large video game publishers such as Activision Blizzard and Bethesda for $68.7 billion and $7.5 billion, respectively.