Xbox Game Pass update hints at possible Android TV support
A big pitch of cloud gaming is cross-device compatibility. All cloud gaming services promise that you can play all your games on multiple devices, including a phone, PC, tablet, laptop, and even in a web browser. However, smart TVs haven’t been on the radar of cloud gaming providers up until recently. Google finally expanded Stadia to Android TVs last month, and now Microsoft is on course to follow suit.
As discovered by Reddit user /el_gonz87, the latest APK of Xbox Game Pass is laying the groundwork for Android TV support. When the Redditor decompiled the APK, he found a banner image for Android TV, suggesting that the app will soon officially arrive on the platform. Android TV apps are required to have a banner image of a specific size in order to show up on the launcher, and that’s what the latest version of the Xbox Game Pass has added.
Although the Xbox Game Pass app is available on the Google Play Store, there’s no official version available for Android TV at the moment. Since Android TV is still, well, Android, it was always possible to sideload the Xbox Game Pass app onto an Android TV device such as Chromecast. However, anyone that’s tried it can tell you it’s not worth the effort because the layout is poorly optimized for TV, the app can’t be easily navigated with a controller, and streaming can be buggy. The official version will likely fix these issues as it will have a TV-optimized layout and proper remote/controller support. Moreover, with the official Android TV app, users won’t have to go through the hassle of sideloading the APK.
Separately, 9to5Google found that when they sideloaded the latest Xbox Game Pass APK on a Chromecast, it showed up on the homescreen. However, the app is still not listed on the Google Play Store for Android TV.
Of course, Microsoft hasn’t confirmed yet that they’ll support Android TV, but with Stadia recently launching an official app for the platform, it’s only natural that Microsoft would like to do the same. It also ties into Microsoft’s recent push to integrate its game streaming services directly into newer smart TVs. The Redmond firm recently confirmed it’s also working on its own Xbox game streaming device.