Cloud gaming is expanding in huge ways right now, and Android TV saw a big release there last month with the debut of Google’s Stadia platform on Android TV and Google TV devices. Xbox Game Pass, despite supporting Android, hasn’t supported Android TV since its launch, but it seems that may be changing.

The latest update to Xbox Game Pass for Android, version 2107 which is now in the Play Store, has started the path for official Android TV support. This arrives in the stable channel for updates and enables access to Game Pass from the Android TV and Google TV homescreen.

Being an Android app, it’s always been possible to sideload the Game Pass app on devices such as Chromecast with Google TV and Nvidia Shield. However, Microsoft has said in the past that Android TV is not officially supported.

This was made clear by the fact that the app wouldn’t show up on the homescreen when sideloaded. On Android TV, developers need to implement special code to have the app show on the homescreen, otherwise, users have to access it through the Settings or special launchers. Microsoft making an effort to have the app appear in a place where it can be easily accessed is a clear sign that the company may have changed its mind when it comes to Android TV support.

For the time being, though, you’ll still need to sideload the Xbox Game Pass app to use it on Android TV – it won’t show up in the Play Store.

Unfortunately, nothing has changed as far as performance goes. With a quick test on my Chromecast with Google TV, navigating the app with an Xbox Controller is dreadfully slow and the interface hasn’t been changed at all to better support non-touch controls. The game stream, too, froze instantly upon being started. By comparison, Stadia’s app on Android TV performed flawlessly on every device we tested, so it’s clear Microsoft still has a long way to go.

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Ben Schoon

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