The earliest gaming consoles were really just machines design for gaming and gaming alone. These days, however, consoles are veritable computers, especially now that they are pretty much running on the same hardware that makes up desktop computers. Unsurprisingly, some software you’d normally associate with PCs have also found their way to consoles, like the Chromium-based version of the Microsoft Edge web browser that’s now being testing on Xbox.
That the Xbox would have a web browser isn’t exactly new. After all, it does have the old version of Edge, now called Edge Legacy, that used Microsoft’s homegrown edgeHTML engine. While that was actually functional as a web browser, it wasn’t exactly compatible with numerous sites that used modern Web technologies or targets compatibility with Google Chrome, specifically.
The new Microsoft Edge for Xbox would bring a more modern and less broken web browsing experience to the console. Based on The Verge’s report, it seems to support everything that’s available on Edge on Windows, including data syncing, extensions, and the new vertical tabs. That is perhaps a testament both to Chromium’s cross-platform capabilities as well as Microsoft’s work on making Edge almost universal across its supported platforms, including Android.
More interesting is compatibility with dozens of web apps that already work on Chromium-based web browsers. Going beyond Discord and Skype, it may mean that Microsoft Edge could support running the Google Stadia game streaming service on the Xbox.
Whether Google or Microsoft will allow that to happen is a different question, though. At the moment, Edge on Xbox is still in alpha version and doesn’t have full keyboard and mouse support yet. It will be an interesting turn of events if Xbox does become an unofficial Stadia machine, almost making it an all-in-one gaming machine.