They don’t say it out loud, but at Microsoft They are going to let us use our Xbox almost as if they were PCs. The key is in the mouse and keyboard support: it already existed in some games, but is now also supported in the console’s Microsoft Edge browser.
What does that mean? That it will be possible to use that browser on the Xbox Series X practically identical to how we would do it in front of a PC. Edit documents with Office 365 or Google Docs, write emails in Outlook or Gmail or use the Xbox as if it were a “Chromebook” Microsoft is now closer than ever.
A console that was also (a bit) a PC
The Xbox Series X doesn’t just look like a PC – it could also become one, at least in part, thanks to that keyboard and mouse support that now earn integers. It does it in the Microsoft Edge browser, which has become a really popular development since Redmond made the leap and built on Chromium.
Being able to use this browser on the console and also do it with a mouse and keyboard gives new possibilities (like playing Stadia from the Xbox!), Especially if we have the console connected to a monitor and near these peripherals. If so, use it to take advantage of all kinds of web services directly from the console It will be almost the same as if we did it from a conventional PC.
This news makes the console behave in something similar to a Chromebook, but instead of having Google’s Chrome browser as its center, it has Microsoft Edge as a pillar of that “browser as operating system“.
We can do many things, but not others
There are many things that we can already do from the browser: listen to music or watch movies and series, connect to a work chat via Slack (or one of games via Discord, for example) and write content on websites like Xataka are done from a browser.
🚨 Microsoft Edge on Xbox now has full keyboard + mouse support 🚨 pic.twitter.com/ySUbFKjXoT
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) April 23, 2021
The same could be said of manage email and access social networks to publish images that for example we have edited with a web service. Even connecting to the web versions of WhatsApp or Telegram is perfectly possible from a browser like Edge on the console.
Obviously there are limitations: no task or window management as in a conventional operating system, and we also do not have access to native applications in Windows 10, including those that Microsoft has offered for years to work more efficiently (such as the file explorer, although there are alternatives).
It is an idea that has haunted some of us for a long time: the Xbox Series X is a fantastic and powerful PC that could give a lot of itself in this area, and so would the Xbox Series S, which even being more modest has plenty of power to become a solvent PC for work.
It does not seem likely that Microsoft will make moves in that direction: among other things it would do a disservice to the PC manufacturers it has as partners. There are other drawbacks —security, what happens with native Xbox games when you could play directly in that Windows mode—, but all of them are solvable, as I mentioned in that idea that haunted me.
Whatever Microsoft does about it, this preliminary support – for now, only for Insiders, and specifically those in the “Alpha Skip-Ahead” group – opens the door to using the console as that “pseudoPC” we were talking about, and makes it inevitable to imagine a hypothetical future in which we could run in “console mode” and in “PC mode” perhaps with a dual boot. An intriguing idea, of course.