Despite the success of its Xbox and Surface brands and many high-quality peripherals, Microsoft still has a slightly spotty reputation on the hardware side because of its ill-fated phone division. Building off of its excellent Surface brand though, the company is starting to slowly tread into that territory with its Android-powered Surface Duo device.
Now it appears the company may be using this device to grow its presence in the handheld gaming space as well. This comes as the company showed off its new Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) app for Android, which comes with additional dual screen support for the Surface Duo that basicaly turns it into a Nintendo 3DS-type device with a set of controls on the bottom screen and a full touch-screen gaming experience on the top screen (as detailed by The Verge).
This little demo certainly looks like a better gaming experience than other mobile devices will be able to offer – especially with the high-quality games that are on offer through the xCloud gaming service which includes over 50 titles like Sea of Thieves, Gears 5, and Minecraft Dungeons.
The biggest challenge though is the performance of the xCloud service itself which isn’t ideal for many places as a result of poor latency and connectivity, and I do think Microsoft would be better served creating a similar control mechanism for Android games that can run locally on the device and not just for xCloud games. Sure the touch screen controls won’t feel as slick as real buttons, but it’s certainly a better design than most mobile devices are capable of.
If Microsoft can keep improving their xCloud gaming service though – and start to support it globally, then a device like the Surface Duo can certainly be the ideal phone and gaming device combination that gamers would want.
Last Updated: May 26, 2021