Samsung will unveil a new line of smart TVs today at CES 2022. These include features such as radio-wave remote controls and NFTs support. They also happen to be one of the first Samsung sets to allow you to play triple-A games from the cloud, instead of only your Xbox, PlayStation, or PC. Samsung has now confirmed that select 2022 models will offer access to Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Google Stadia and Utomik cloud gaming services. This is a new interface Samsung intends to expand to include additional services.
The Samsung Gaming Hub doesn’t only offer cloud gaming. The company claims that the Samsung Gaming Hub will also include your HDMI-connected consoles with passthrough controller inputs. This means that you may be able to play both cloud and console games with one controller. Both Xbox and PlayStation controllers will be supported at launch. It also promises “AI Gaming technology”, which will allow you to display curated recommendations on your TV’s main screen.
After a while, it’s refreshing to see TV manufacturers embrace cloud gaming. LG and Samsung were competing for the right to stream games from Gaikai, OnLive and other sources back in 2012,. Some Samsung TVs also offered Sony’s PlayStation Now between 2015 . However, it is only this winter that LG & Samsung have joined the race with Nvidia’s and Google’s services.
Although it wasn’t clear at first whether Samsung’s TVs would provide the best audio and picture quality for cloud gaming, the company couldn’t say whether GeForce Now or Google Stadia would offer 4K streaming. However, Google confirmed to The Verge that Stadia Pro subscribers will be able to access its 4K tier via the Samsung Gaming Hub. Nvidia’s statement to The Verge reads: “We are working together with partners to bring our best levels of service,” says Mike Lucero, Samsung gaming product director. We will announce details as we near launch.
You can also access these features if you have an older Samsung Smart TV. Lucero writes that “We are beginning with our 2022 models, and we are working to make Gaming Hub accessible to even more Samsung customers.”
It is interesting to me that Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming (aka xCloud) is not part of this launch. Microsoft and Samsung were prominently partners in cloud gaming in February 2020,. We got xCloud on a smart refrigerator and some Samsung Android phones. However, the Xbox app for smart televisions Phil Spencer mentioned in November 2020 still has not materialized. It was only mentioned briefly last June, but not during the E3 2021 game expo.
While Samsung Smart TVs had offered a Steam Link app for a while now, Lucero informs The Verge that it will not be available in the Gaming Hub.
Corrected 9: 37 ET: Samsung has stated that GeForce Now and Stadia will be available via the hub but will not be preinstalled on TVs, as we originally implied. Samsung also announced that passthrough will be possible for Xbox and PlayStation controllers.
Updated January 4, 1: 28AM ET. Added that Google has confirmed 4K for Stadia via Samsung’s Hub.