Xbox Game Pass is coming to Samsung smart TVs. The service will get its own app on all upcoming Samsung TVs, allowing owners to stream Game Pass’ cloud library without a console. Digital Trends went hands-on with the app at a press event this week.
Back at CES 2022, Samsung announced that it would break into video games with its Samsung Gaming Hub. The feature, which is set to launch with Samsung TVs this summer, includes cloud services like Google Stadia and GeForce Now. In partnering with Microsoft, Xbox Game Pass will join the hub at launch as well. Players will just need a Game Pass Ultimate subscription to access it.
Game Pass won’t only be available through the hub, however. All Samsung TVs will have a dedicated Xbox Game Pass app moving forward. Any game that’s available as part of the service’s cloud offering will be playable on Samsung TVs as a result. That includes Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and even Fortnite, which Xbox offers for free even without a Game Pass membership.
The Xbox TV app has many of the same functions as an Xbox Series X. Players can create voice chats with Xbox Live or view achievements through the usual Xbox interface. All Xbox controllers can be hooked up to Samsung TVs to play games and control the app. Microsoft notes that even PlayStation controllers are compatible with the app, meaning that players could use a DualSense to play Halo Infinite if they wanted.
The app supports cloud saves as well, which means that Xbox owners can carry save data from console or PC over to their TV seamlessly.
I tested the Xbox app at a press event and was impressed by what I saw. I got a clear, consistent image quality while playing Gears 5, Forza Horizon 5, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps with no latency issues. I did catch one or two split-second hiccups (the screen paused for a fraction of a second in Forza, for instance), but otherwise experienced no input lag. Note that while the event was in Manhattan, where the internet is faster than most parts of the country, the app was running on hotel Wi-Fi — not exactly the most high-powered or reliable setup.
The partnership is a monumental shift for Microsoft, cloud gaming, and the video game industry as a whole. While Game Pass subscribers can currently stream games to their mobile devices, it’ll be the first time Game Pass will be native to a TV via an app like Netflix. Anyone with a new Samsung TV will be able to play console games like Starfield via the cloud without needing to buy a high-powered PC or a $500 console. That easy accessibility could open the doors for far more people to start gaming — so long as they have a reliable internet connection, which is the current asterisk on cloud tech.
The Xbox app will launch on all new Samsung smart TVs worldwide later this summer.
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