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Surfaced patent shows what an Xbox streaming console would’ve looked like

The top of the Keystone as listed in the patent. It's a square with a large circle, and the Xbox logo in the top left corner.

There have been a few Xbox devices that have never come to fruition, one of which was Keystone, a prototype for an affordable game streaming device you could hook up to your TV or monitor. Thanks to a surfaced patent, we’ve gotten an even closer look at what it would’ve potentially looked like.

The patent, first spotted by Windows Central, gives us a more complete view of the device. We’ve previously seen the Keystone in the flesh. Microsoft Gaming head Phil Spencer is known for hiding teases and interesting collectibles on the shelf in his office. In a 2022 X (formerly Twitter) post congratulating Bethesda on Fallout’s 25th anniversary, you can see a small white device on the top shelf that’s actually a Keystone prototype. Xbox told Digital Trends that it was a version of the device made before it decided to “refocus our efforts on a new approach.”

So we knew that the Keystone looked a lot like a miniature Xbox Series S from the front, but we get a more 360-degree view from diagrams in the patent. The front has the signature Xbox power button along with a USB-A port. The back has HDMI, Ethernet, and power ports, while there appears to be a pairing button on the right.

Instead of a rectangle, the overall design is a square with a circle on top and a stand on the underside. It’s a pretty compact package, which makes sense considering it was supposed to be an HDMI streaming device mostly for Xbox Game Pass and Cloud Streaming.

The front of the Keystone, which looks like an Xbox Series S, with an Xbox logo on the left and a port on the right.

The company has invested a lot into its Game Pass subscription service. The Ultimate tier comes with Cloud Streaming, allowing you to stream from a huge gaming library on almost any device. While the discless Xbox Series S was one iteration of a digital-only gaming console, it still let you buy and download games from the store. The Keystone would’ve been closer to a streaming stick that was portable and was only used for streaming. However, in an interview with The Verge, Spencer revealed that the project was discontinued because of pricing.

“It was more expensive than we wanted it to be when we actually built it out with the hardware that we had inside,” he said. “We decided to focus that team’s effort on delivering the smart TV streaming app.”

And with announcements like the Xbox app coming to Fire TV devices like streaming sticks, it’s unlikely we’ll see a dedicated device from Xbox like this again any time soon.

Carli Velocci
Carli is a technology, culture, and games editor and journalist. They were the Gaming Lead and Copy Chief at Windows Central…
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