Sun. Oct 25th, 2020

Google Chromecast owners just received some bad news from Microsoft’s Xbox team

3 min read

If you’ve got a Smart TV powered by Google’s Android TV or Amazon’s Fire OS, Microsoft has confirmed that you’re unable to stream games from its Xbox Game Streaming service directly to the big screen. And if the latest whispers about the next-generation Google Chromecast, which Google has teased will launch next week, are correct then this updated HDMI dongle won’t stream Xbox gamers either, since it’s reported to be powered by Android TV.

Chromebooks are also out of the question, Microsoft has stated. So, if you were hoping to play some top-tier Xbox games on your laptop the next time you’re faced with a long journey for work – forget it. And finally, iPhone, iPad and other Apple gadgets are also incompatible due to a restriction that Apple imposes on game streaming services made available through its App Store.

How does Xbox Game Streaming work? Well, it’s important to note that this is something completely different to Microsoft’s xCloud service, which is bundled with its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription service and lets you stream from a huge catalogue of titles for a set monthly fee. Think of xCloud like Netflix, but instead of Friends boxsets and Stranger Things, you’ll have a selection of new and old Xbox games to play.

Xbox Game Streaming lets you play titles currently loaded onto the Xbox nestled underneath your telly on other gadgets when you’re out-and-about, including an Android smartphone and Windows 10 laptop. So, you’ll need to have bought the game with a physical disc or digital download to access it using your smartphone or tablet when you’re away from home.

Available as part of the updated Xbox app, players will also be able to capture photos and video from the game which can be quickly shared to social media accounts, including Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and others.

Since everything is being powered by the cloud, there isn’t any reason that an incredibly underpowered device – like an Android TV dongle, or Chromebook – couldn’t handle Xbox games. As long as these devices have enough processing grunt to stream from YouTube, they should be able to stream a game being crunched on Microsoft’s servers. Whether additional devices will be added over time remains to be seen.

If you don’t upgrade to the new Chromecast purportedly coming next week, you should be able to get your Xbox games on the big screen by playing within a Chrome web browser on a Windows 10 laptop or desktop PC and hitting the Cast button for the entire tab. But really, when you’ve got to that level of admin, you might as well dust off an Xbox controller and use the console itself to play on the TV.

Google Stadia, which is another game-streaming option available to players, doesn’t support playing on an Android TV, either. However, the service, which is available for free but requires a monthly subscription for advanced features, has supported playing top-tier titles on Chromecast from launch.

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