Microsoft experiments with Home windows hand-held mode for Steam Deck and extra

Microsoft is exploring early ideas round a Home windows hand-held mode for gadgets just like the Steam Deck. A leaked video posted on Twitter via h0x0d displays early thought and prototype paintings for an optimized Home windows 11 UI for handhelds, and a launcher and Home windows gaming shell that’s designed for touchscreens and controllers.

The video is a part of a hackathon challenge inside of Microsoft from September, the place staff incessantly provide concepts or initiatives that every now and then finally end up getting give a boost to from Microsoft executives and finally end up transport.

Whilst it’s no longer transparent who’s narrating the video, they do a just right process of highlighting all of the present problems with operating Home windows on a hand-held gaming tool just like the Steam Deck. Valve provides drivers for Home windows on Steam Deck, however the Home windows UI is hard to navigate with contact or a controller, and there’s no devoted launcher like SteamOS has.

The video references some prototype hand-held paintings created via Dorothy Feng, a senior UX dressmaker at Microsoft. It features a launcher that may open video games from Steam, PC Sport Cross, EA Play, Epic Video games Retailer, and extra. This hand-held gaming prototype additionally features a keyboard optimized for the Steam Deck that may be navigated the usage of a controller, or even a floating taskbar that we’ve noticed Microsoft tease sooner than.

The group operating in this hackathon challenge additionally set to work with a developer that created some way to make use of Steam Deck controls throughout Home windows. There’s even a gaming shell custom designed for Home windows and created via Hayden McAfee, a senior tool engineer at Microsoft who works on gaming reports for Home windows.

The hackathon challenge led to a setup enjoy the place drivers and services and products are put in, the controller works, and there’s a launcher to briefly release video games from other shops. It looks as if tremendous early paintings and there’s an extended listing of problems and optimizations that might be wanted in Home windows and the Xbox app for Microsoft to make this a fact.

On the finish of the video there’s a choice to motion for fellow Microsoft staff to “get occupied with hand-held gaming on Home windows” that may lend a hand strengthen Microsoft’s symbol and credibility within the PC gaming group. 

Whilst this challenge would possibly by no means send, it’s encouraging to look Microsoft staff pushing for it to occur. Microsoft was once fast to give a boost to Xbox Cloud Gaming at the Steam Deck, however we’ve heard little about its Home windows ambitions for hand-held gaming outdoor of this leaked presentation.

Quite a lot of Transfer-like hand-held gaming gadgets from GPD and OneXPlayer and even the Ayaneo 2 were depending on Home windows with out an optimized UI from Microsoft. That suggests firms need to construct their very own interfaces and launchers to make Home windows extra controller and hand-held pleasant.

There are indicators that we’ll begin to see much more Home windows hand-held gadgets quickly, too. Asus simply introduced its ROG Best friend, which targets to head face to face with the Steam Deck and is powered via a custom designed Ryzen APU from AMD and Home windows 11. A Home windows hand-held mode unquestionably make numerous sense presently.

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