The first game consoles were, in fact, just machines designed for games and just games. Nowadays, however, consoles are real computers, especially now that they are basically running on the same hardware that makes up desktop computers. As you might expect, some software that you normally associated with PCs also made it to the consoles, such as the Chromium-based version of the Microsoft Edge browser that is now being tested on the Xbox.
The fact that the Xbox has a browser is not exactly new. After all, it has the old version of Edge, now called Edge Legacy, which used Microsoft’s internal edgeHTML engine. Although it was really functional as a web browser, it was not exactly compatible with many sites that used modern web technologies or aimed at 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 report, it appears to support everything that is available on Edge on Windows, including data synchronization, extensions and the new vertical tabs. This is perhaps a testament to Chromium’s cross-platform capabilities, as well as Microsoft’s work in making Edge almost universal on its supported platforms, including Android.
More interesting is the compatibility with dozens of web apps that already work on Chromium-based web browsers. Going beyond Discord and Skype, it could mean that Microsoft Edge can support running the Google Stadia game streaming service on the Xbox.
Whether Google or Microsoft will allow this to happen is a different matter. At the moment, the Edge on the Xbox is still in the alpha version and does not yet have full keyboard and mouse support. It will be an interesting turnaround if the Xbox becomes an unofficial Stadia machine, almost becoming an all-in-one gaming machine.