Microsoft has begun testing a new version of the Edge browser on Xbox consoles. The software giant gave access to the Chromium version of Edge to Xbox Insiders earlier this month, and gave an early look at the enhanced surfing capabilities coming to Xbox One and Xbox Series X / S. I’ve had a chance to try out this early version. the last few days and I have been able to test Discord, Stadia and other web services running in Edge on Xbox. It’s like having the full version of Edge from a PC running on your TV.
The Xbox version of Edge looks almost identical to the one you find on your PC or Mac right now. It even includes features like vertical tabs and collections. Like the Edge on PC and mobile, the Xbox version also syncs all settings, favorites, tabs and web history.
Expansion support is the only major feature that is really lacking right now. I’m not sure if this is a general limitation with the Xbox version, or if Microsoft can implement it when this Chromium version is ready for release. Either way, if you try to add a Chrome or Edge extension, it will fail.
The big reason why you might want to use this new version of Edge on Xbox is the improved web compatibility. This allows services like Discord, Skype or even Google Stadium to run on the Xbox version of Edge. Discord lets you participate in voice calls and participate in text channel chats, but microphone support is not there yet. This is a very early version, so it is likely to be supported in the end. Similarly, if you switch to another game or app, Discord calls will not continue in the Edge browser in the background. This can also be changed before this Edge update is also widely available.
Google Stadia works very well. I have managed to stream several games using the service, and the Xbox controller is automatically detected and supported in games. I’ve also tried using Nvidia’s streaming service GeForce Now, but it seems that Nvidia is blocking the Edge user agent string, and there are no developer tools or extensions that could allow me to falsify the Chrome user agent.
Elsewhere, I’ve also tested Office plug-ins in this Xbox version of Edge. They work as reliably as you expect, and you can even connect a keyboard to your Xbox and write away. Unfortunately, mouse support is not yet available in this Edge browser. It seems to be part of a broader restriction for Xbox apps that access a mouse on Microsoft consoles, so it’s not clear if this will be fully supported in the future.
Edge on the Xbox is currently based on Chromium 91, which is expected to debut on desktop versions of the Edge in May. Microsoft has not revealed when it plans to release this Xbox version.
This Edge browser is already a big improvement over the older version available on the Xbox today. Full synchronization support, network compatibility and just the general interface are significantly improved. While the Xbox usually 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.