A first look at Xbox running Discord and Google Stadia in its new Edge browser
Microsoft has started testing a new version of its Edge browser on Xbox consoles. The software giant provided access to the Chromium version of Edge to Xbox Insiders earlier this month, offering an early look at the improved browsing capabilities coming to the Xbox One and Xbox Series X / S. I’ve had a chance to try out this early version over the past few days, and I’ve been able to test Discord, Stadia, and other web services running inside Edge on the Xbox. It’s like having the full version of Edge from PC running on your TV.
The Xbox version of Edge looks almost identical to the one you can find on PC or Mac right now. It even includes features like vertical tabs and Collections. Like Edge on PC and mobile, the Xbox version also syncs all your settings, favorites, tabs, and web history.
Extension support is the only big feature that’s really missing right now. I’m not sure if this is a general restriction with the Xbox version, or whether Microsoft might implement it once this Chromium version is ready to release. Either way, if you try to add a Chrome or Edge extension it will fail.
The big reason you might want to use this new version of Edge on the Xbox is for the greatly improved web compatibility. This allows services like Discord, Skype, or even Google Stadia to run on the Xbox version of Edge. Discord will let you join voice calls and participate in text channel chats, but microphone support isn’t there just yet. This is a really early version, so it’s likely that it will be supported eventually. Likewise, if you switch to another game or app, Discord calls in the Edge browser do not continue in the background. This may also change before this Edge update is broadly available, too.
Google Stadia works really smoothly. I’ve been able to stream multiple games using the service, and the Xbox controller is automatically detected and supported in games. I’ve also tried to use Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service, but Nvidia appears to be blocking the Edge user agent string, and there are no developer tools or extensions that will allow me to spoof the Chrome user agent.
Elsewhere, I’ve also tested out Office web apps in this Xbox version of Edge. They work as reliably as you’d expect, and you can even hook up a keyboard to the Xbox and type away. Unfortunately, mouse support isn’t available in this Edge browser yet. That appears to be part of a broader restriction on Xbox apps accessing a mouse on Microsoft’s consoles, so it’s not clear if this will be fully supported in the future.
Edge on Xbox is currently based on Chromium 91, which is expected to debut on desktop versions of Edge in May. Microsoft hasn’t revealed when it plans to release this Xbox version, though.
This Edge browser is already a big improvement over the legacy version that exists on Xbox today. Full sync support, web compatibility, and just the general interface is greatly improved. While Xbox typically gets dedicated streaming apps for most services, this Edge update will be useful for many who want to access everything the web has to offer.