In brief: As video game streaming struggles to gain a foothold in the industry, service providers are partnering with television manufacturers to make it easier for players to play their game through built-in apps. Samsung has jumped on board with its new Gaming Hub. The 2022 sets will soon be the only smart TVs equipped with Microsoft’s Xbox TV app for cloud gaming.
On Thursday, Samsung revealed its new Gaming Hub for several of its 2022 smart TVs. The hub contains shortcuts to any consoles you may have connected to the set using Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) to activate the console without turning it on manually or with a controller.
The hub also has built-in game streaming apps, so you don’t need access to a browser or external hardware like Chromecast to start playing. It currently supports Nvidia GeForce Now† Google StadiaXbox TV, utomikand twitch† Samsung says it will also add support for Amazon Luna game streaming service, but did not give a timetable.
Samsung Gaming Hub also has passthrough support for controllers and headsets, so users don’t have to pair multiple accessories for their different services and consoles. Passthrough allows players to use Xbox Series controllers with their PlayStation or their Xbox without re-pairing as the devices sync to the TV instead of the console.
Samsung’s Gaming Hub is certainly not a first. Several other television manufacturers already have similar user interfaces. Visio’s Smartcast was recently updated to support most video and game streaming. However, the Xbox TV app, which enables Game Pass cloud gaming, is currently only available on Samsung smart TVs. However, Microsoft intends to work with more OEMs in the coming months.
Samsung didn’t have a precise release date for the interface, but only said the hub would come to 2022 TVs with a firmware update later this year. It also noted that while a Samsung account is not required to use Gaming Hub, it is recommended so that users can reliably sync their game progress with its streaming partners.