TV’s streaming wars aren’t just about TV.
Microsoft’s Xbox will bring cloud gaming to Samsung 2022 smart TVs starting June 30 — in a bid to bring videogaming to a broader audience, who won’t have to rely on a console — and eke out share in the battle for consumer attention on the connected TV screen. The company expects the Xbox app on Samsung Gaming Hub will be available in 27 countries.
“We are bringing the Xbox app to Samsung Smart TVs first, and our intent is to explore other TV partnerships as part of the next evolution in our vision,” Ashley McKissick, corporate vice president, gaming experiences and platforms for Xbox, said in a statement.
Announced ahead of CES 2022, Samsung Gaming Hub includes partnerships with game streaming services including Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now and Utomik.
Samsung TV users will be able to use the app to access hundreds of games from the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate library, though they must be members, and play Epic Games’ “Fortnite” without a subscription. Users will have to create an account with Microsoft and can tap Bluetooth to connect their favorite controller.
The move comes as more young consumers list gaming as a top activity or interest, in some cases seeing it as important as TV shows or movies. A study last year from Deloitte found 26% of Generation Z consumers picked video games are their top entertainment activity, while 87% of those in that category said they play video games daily or weekly. Only 10% said watching TV or movies was their favorite entertainment pastime. For every other age group, watching TV or movies remains the top pick, including among millennials, Gen Xers and boomers.
“We’re building a platform that can reach billions of players — whether it’s on console, whether it’s on PC, whether it’s through Xbox cloud streaming — where players on any device they want to play on should be able to find the content they want to play,” said Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, in a statement.
Separately, earlier this year Microsoft made a $69 billion bid for game giant Activision Blizzard, a blockbuster acquisition that is expected to close by mid-2023.