Head of Xbox Phil Spencer shed a bit more light on the streaming project 'Keystone' last month. At the time, he mentioned how a prototype had been built, but the final product would likely be "years away" from hitting the market as the team had decided to "take our learnings and refocus our efforts on a new approach".
Now, in a new interview on The Verge's Decoder podcast (via VGC), Phil has discussed this project once again. Apparently, the prototype actually worked just fine, but could have proved too costly bundled with a controller.
Below is part of what Phil had to say - explaining how he thinks the ideal price should be somewhere between $99 - $129 USD. Just keep in mind, nothing is official at this point, and Phil has made it clear he also has nothing to specifically announce about the pricing of an Xbox streaming device right now.
"The console we built that now people have seen, Keystone, was more expensive than we wanted it to be when we actually built it..."
"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 [Series] S has to be pretty significant."
"...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."
"...The thing, when it is turned on, it looks like an Xbox, the user interface, everything works, but some of the silicon choices that we were making at the time we were designing just didn’t let us hit the price point that we wanted to hit."
The original plan for Keystone was to build an Xbox Cloud Gaming device that could "be connected to any TV or monitor without the need for a console", and clearly Microsoft is still very interested in that concept. However, the "decision to pivot away" from the prototype design suggests we've got a long way to go until it finally hits the market.