Microsoft and Amazon announce Xbox app support for select Fire Sticks — Xbox Cloud Gaming comes to the masses

Amazon Fire TV Stick
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a popular subscription service allowing you to play hundreds of first- and third-party games (which are rotated regularly) for $16.99/month. One key component of the service included is Xbox Cloud Gaming, which, while still in beta, allows you to stream Xbox games using an Xbox app on supported devices. Today, Microsoft announced two new devices coming to the Xbox Cloud Gaming support list: the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and the Fire TV Stick 4K Max.

This announcement is crucial for Microsoft and its goal of spreading the Xbox ecosystem to as many people as possible, because it lowers the cost barrier for gamers. The Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick 4K Max retail for $49.99 and $59.99, respectively. In addition, Amazon frequently discounts these devices, with the former selling for as low as $24.99 and the latter selling for just $39.99 in recent months.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Previously, if you wanted to access Xbox Cloud Gaming on a TV, you’d need to fork over big money for a Samsung Smart TV (2020 or later), which comes preinstalled with the Xbox app. Now, you can add a supported Fire TV Stick to spare HDMI port on any monitor or TV to enjoy Xbox Cloud Gaming. Getting started is as simple as launching the Xbox app, signing into your Microsoft account, and connecting a wireless controller via Bluetooth with the Fire TV Stick. Microsoft specifically mentions that the Xbox Wireless Controller, Xbox Adaptive Controller, and PlayStation controllers are supported. However, plenty of other Bluetooth wireless controllers are available that will work just as well (see the complete list of compatible hardware here).

“This integration brings the vast Xbox Game Pass Ultimate game library to your TV with just a compatible Fire TV Stick and Bluetooth-enabled controller, making gaming more available,” Amazon explained in a blog post. “From epic RPGs like Starfield and Fallout 4 to high-octane racers like Forza Horizon 5, you can experience console-quality gaming through cloud gaming.”

For those eager to try the new feature out, note that the Xbox app isn’t available just yet for the Fire TV Stick 4K and the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. Instead, Amazon says that support will come at an unspecified date in July. There is no word on whether Xbox Cloud Gaming access will be extended to cheaper members of Amazon’s streaming stick family, like the Fire Stick and Fire Stick Lite.

Microsoft Xbox Keystone

Microsoft's canceled Xbox "Keystone" streaming device (Image credit: Microsoft)

Interestingly, news of the unlikely partnership between Microsoft and Amazon comes just 24 hours after Microsoft’s canceled Xbox “Keystone” streaming console was leaked via a patent filing uncovered by Windows Central. Xbox Chief Phil Spencer had envisioned the device coming to the market with a $99 to $129 price tag, but the project was canceled after Microsoft reportedly couldn’t meet those aggressive price targets. However, today’s announcement effectively is the realization of Spencer’s original goal for an affordable streaming platform for Xbox.

Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    This really surprises me. The Fire Stick 4K Max doesn't even have enough power to hardware decode locally streamed video and is barely powerful enough to operate smoothly (I own one so I speak from experience), with the regular 4K version being underpowered with a tiny amount of storage. It's also interesting that the much more capable (and horridly overpriced) Fire TV Cube isn't listed...I'm not expecting these things to work well.