New Chromecast works as a cheap but unsupported xCloud streamer

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Google’s new Chromecast can run Microsoft’s xCloud if you’re prepared to sideload the game streaming service, The Verge can confirm. The functionality was previously demonstrated over on Reddit by u/kiddj55, and we’ve since been able to install the Xbox Game Pass app on our own hardware and access cloud streaming to play Gears of War 5.

Much like Google’s Stadia game streaming service which also works, xCloud isn’t yet officially supported on Google’s new hardware. That means you’ll have to sideload xCloud if you want to install it. The process involves finding an APK for the Xbox Game Pass app online, finding a way to transfer it to your dongle (here’s a guide from Android Police on doing exactly that), and then change the Chromecast settings to allow apps installs from “Unknown Sources.”

The lack of official support also means there are no guarantees about how xCloud will perform on the hardware. u/kiddj55 points out in a comment that games appear to run at 720p resolution, because the Xbox Games Pass app is designed for phones and not optimized for TVs. It does support Xbox controllers paired over Bluetooth, however.

While it’s possible to stream games from the cloud, we weren’t able to stream games locally from an Xbox console. When we installed the Xbox beta app (which provides the feature) we found it would crash whenever we tried to open it.

It’s unclear when we might see xCloud support officially arrive on the new Chromecast. Google has confirmed that its own Stadia service will be officially supported in the first half of next year though, and it’s unlikely that Microsoft will be too far behind. It’s great news for anyone who wants a cheap $50 device for streaming games to their TV, especially since the new Chromecast is a pretty good video streaming device in its own right.

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