If you've just bought one of the best Samsung TVs but haven't got an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, Microsoft has good news for you: you don't need either console to enjoy Xbox gaming on your TV. That's because the new Xbox TV gaming app is coming to Samsung sets later this month, and early reviews say it's really, really good even in titles such as Halo and Forza.
The app will come to Samsung's 2022 TVs and monitors later this month; it'll appear in the Samsung gaming hub on 30th June in 27 different countries. All you need to do is install it and sign in with your Microsoft account – so if you have or take out an Xbox Game Pass subscription you'll be able to play tons of Xbox Series X and S games as well as Xbox classics without any additional hardware other than a controller. And the app supports all kinds of controllers including Xbox, DualSense and many more.
This is a really big deal. I've written before that Game Pass is the Netflix of gaming; on these smart TVs that comparison is more accurate than ever.
How the Xbox TV app works
The app connects to Microsoft's gaming servers, which run the game and stream it to your TV. I've played quite a bit of Xbox cloud gaming and it's pretty good; you don't get the full 4K experience that you'd get from a full install, but you still get a perfectly respectable 1080p at 60fps. With a decent internet connection and a decently quick Wi-Fi router you shouldn't encounter any serious streaming problems: the Xbox app is no more demanding than any of your other streaming apps.
If you're wondering when the app will come to other TVs, so am I – and given that in the UK Sony has been very slow to deliver essential catch-up TV services, I don't imagine Sony will be the next out of the gate with a native Xbox app. The rollout to other TVs will depend very much on Microsoft's partnerships, although I can't imagine it's going to be a particularly hard sell: by turning TVs into seriously impressive gaming systems, the app will ultimately help sell a whole bunch of TVs – and no doubt a bunch of Xboxes too as people get hooked on Game Pass but want higher quality visuals.
I won't be trading in my current Samsung TV and putting my Series X on eBay any time soon, because I'd rather play in 4K. But if you're not already an Xbox owner, this looks like a must-have app if your TV supports it.