Accessibility and ease of use are among the key things Microsoft has been focusing on providing Xbox users in recent times. From services like Xbox Game Pass and xCloud to new features on the Xbox mobile app, the company has taken plenty of steps to make the Xbox ecosystem more convenient to use in various ways. Case in point, it looks like Xbox users will receive a new and improved version of Microsoft’s web browser, Edge.
With most gamers more likely to use their phones to access the internet, built-in web browsers in game consoles tend to rank lower on the list of needed features, with consoles like the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 lacking an official browser altogether. Still, since 2015, Microsoft has provided Xbox One (and now Xbox Series X/S) owners with an Edge app that lets them surf the web without having to put down their controllers.
Six years later, the Xbox app has essentially remained the same, but a big change is on the horizon. According to Xbox Insiders in the program’s Alpha Skip-Ahead ring, a brand new app is available to download for testing, based on the Chromium version of the browser that debuted for Windows 10 PCs last year.
the latest Xbox Alpha skip ahead build includes the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge pic.twitter.com/C34d59UYuJ
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) March 6, 2021
The general consensus among Insiders so far is that the new version is a definite improvement over the current app performance-wise. Some have even gone so far as to proclaim it better than other popular web browsers like Google Chrome. That being said, the new app is still in the testing phase, with Reddit user RazGunz stating that it doesn’t have mouse support at the moment and that “a lot of things that don’t work yet.”
Despite the current shortcomings, word of mouth towards the early build has been very positive, which suggests that Microsoft is on the right track to offering an improved experience for Xbox users who prefer to browse the internet from their consoles. This follows the company adding Xbox-themed browser themes to Edge back in January, so at any rate, it’s further proof that Microsoft isn’t done mingling its web browser with the Xbox ecosystem just yet.
It’s not known, as of this writing, when the app might be ready to be released to the public, or what new features may be added to it. It seems safe to say, though, that Xbox users won’t likely be able to buy pirated Nintendo games from Edge’s extension store when it finally becomes available.