We caught wind late last year of integration between Xbox and Google Assistant. That partnership is continuing to grow with streaming to Android devices now enabled for participants of the Xbox insider program. With the Xbox Game Streaming App installed on your Android device, you can stream any Xbox One game to your mobile device.

A very important note around this functionality is that it is for your home network. The Insider Program is not a competitor to Google Stadia or Apple Arcade. Game streaming services are in their infancy and need time to develop and find their place in the gaming market. The Xbox streaming capability is more akin to the Geforce Now service but it’s mobile.

Of course, there’s a catch. Actually there’s a couple of catches for Aussie users, particularly the connectivity to allow streaming external to your home.

The network test ensures your console’s network connection and setup meet the minimum requirements:
NAT type: Open or Moderate
Upstream bandwidth: At least 4.75 Mbps required, 9 Mbps preferred
Network latency: 125 ms or less required, 60 ms or less preferred
Console settings: Power setting must be Instant-on

If you’re lucky enough to have an Internet connection that meets those requirements then what you need is:

  • You need to be an Xbox Insider in the US and UK with a console enrolled in the Alpha or Alpha-Skip-Ahead rings to participate in the preview.
  • A phone or tablet running Android 6.0 or higher, with Bluetooth 4.0.
  • A Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One Wireless Controller.
  • While not required, it is recommended to have a controller mount for those gamers testing on a phone.
  • Download the Xbox Game Streaming (Preview) app from the Google Play Store

You will then need to follow the bouncing ball to complete testing on your home network to ensure it’s suitability for external streaming. If it all meets the requirements then you can now enjoy your Xbox games during your morning commute or breaks at work.

For console gamers, this is undoubtedly a big deal – for PC gamers there’s also potentially some huge news on the horizon.

One of the team members from Android Police, David Ruddock sat down with Kan Liu, Director of Product Management for Google’s Chrome OS. Part of this discussion was around the fact that Google are in fact working – potentially with Valve Software – on bringing Steam to ChromeOS.

Sadly Liu didn’t let much more detail than that slip to Ruddock. He did confirm that the project is happening and made possible through Linux for ChromeOS. It was alluded to, but not confirmed that Google is working directly with Valve on the project.

There are a number of reasons Google and Valve may team up for something of this magnitude. ChromeOS is a platform with no brand lock to it and Valve is no doubt feeling the pinch of increasingly mobile wants from gamers. IF you’re familiar with the hardware requirements for gaming and what Chromebooks offer, you’re probably already asking questions.

  • The graphics capabilities of Chromebooks won’t handle games, how will this work?
  • The storage is far too small to accommodate more than one or two games at most
  • RAM and CPU are likely to be insufficient for games performance

Ultimately, the hardware is just not up to the job in the current generation of Chromebooks.

Liu said we could expect that to change: more powerful Chromebooks, especially AMD Chromebooks, are coming. Liu would not explicitly confirm that any of these models would contain discrete Radeon graphics, but told us to stay tuned.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment is the lack of a timeline for delivery. The reality is that Steam on ChromeOS may never be delivered, but it would make Chromebooks and Chromebox devices very attractive. We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes out for further updates from Google or Valve.

Stock Image Credit: Steam Linux Image from OMG WFT Ubuntu.
Source: Xbox Online.
Source 2: Android Police.