Microsoft wants you to play Xbox games anywhere and everywhere through your Xbox cloud gaming platform and this includes introducing an entirely new form factor.
The company has revealed a new feature for its Surface Duo dual-screen smartphone that will enable gamers to play Xbox games through the cloud in portrait mode. It comes through Xbox game pass App for Android.
The top half of the display can be used to view the game in landscape, while the bottom half will feature touch controls on its part of the display. Microsoft calls it “Compose Mode” and early screenshots reveal that the experience is much like what handheld Xbox fans have dreamed of for decades.
“We have updated and improved the experience on Surface Duo devices so that you can fully enjoy the game pass on both screens. Bonus Screen! Microsoft says in the app listing.
While touchscreen controls are far from ideal for Xbox games – despite Microsoft’s best efforts to optimize titles – this may be one of the best use cases yet for the Surface Duo. Especially given gamers who use their Android phones for touchscreen games, they usually have to be content with powering the gaming area.
Many top games, such as Gears 5, have been optimized for touchscreens. Others include Minecraft Dungeons, Sea of Thieves, New Super Lucky’s Tale, Streets of Rage 4 and The Walking Dead. We are hoping that some of the best Xbox series X / S games will be added over time.
This can be a great option for those who want a new phone and want to play their Xbox games on the go without having to turn off the wireless controller with them. The hardware itself comes from Microsoft, while the phone / tablet runs on the Android operating system that brings access to cloud gaming via the Xbox Game Pass app. The dual-screen phone has been waiting for a killer app since its launch last year and it could be just that.
Here’s an idea of what it looks like from Tom Warren of The Verge. It doesn’t seem completely intuitive yet, with some issues appearing above and outside the menu, but overall it looks awesome once the gaming action starts.
Will it convince you to give the Surface Duo a shot? Tell us @trustedreviews on Twitter.