It appears that evidently Microsoft is cooking up some critical plans to deal with the nascent handheld gaming PC market. Home windows-centric Twitter-based leaker WalkingCat shared a quick video which was apparently recorded throughout a Microsoft Hackathon in September 2022. An unnamed exec offered a voiceover to the informative video, however we be aware that Dorothy Feng (opens in new tab), a senior UX designer at Microsoft, and her group, led a 3 week “dash” which contributed to the Home windows 11 handheld gaming mode visuals used within the video.
It stays to be seen if this can ever change into a last product, so for now take the information with a pinch.
https://t.co/OWiw0f2k2v pic.twitter.com/RdSGMmhgBdApril 13, 2023
Microsoft’s work seems to have been prompted by the undoubted success of Valve’s Steam Deck, the platform’s momentum, and the proliferation of comparable merchandise. It hasn’t escaped Microsoft that the Steam Deck and its Steam OS supply a slick controller-driven handheld gaming expertise on an x86 platform utilizing a customized Linux OS. Microsoft has offered drivers for individuals who want to put Home windows 11 on the Steam Deck, however on this hackathon video the narrator admits that Home windows on Steam deck is “fairly tough… and its not prepared for prime time.”
Hackathons are occasion the place groups get collectively to work on an thought. More often than not these concepts by no means change into actual merchandise, however typically they kind right into a product which makes it to customers. The thought behind the hackathon mission was to have a look into what a “really optimized handheld mode,” would appear like. The video narrator admits that as there’s loads of work to do, so the hackathon group began with the fundamentals, and these have been:
- Including controller assist exterior of the Steam app and video games
- Coping with video games not being adaptable to the distinctive nature of handheld shows (small, panorama mode screens)
- Video games not correctly working appropriately with the Steam Deck’s shared reminiscence
- Home windows contact keyboard optimization for handhelds, and once more making this a part of Home windows extra controller pleasant
- Different UI tweaks for handhelds, and a bigger floating taskbar
The video gives some particulars of a 3 week ‘handheld dash’ mission headed up by Dorothy Feng, a senior UX designer Microsoft. The video highlights 4 Home windows 11 handheld gaming UI parts. To begin with there’s a default gaming launcher dialog, which is a welcome choice-facilitating characteristic. Subsequent is a finger-friendly gaming portal with expanded floating Home windows taskbar. After that there’s a UI with pinned apps and gaming titles for fast entry. Final however not least a visible reveals an tailored contact keyboard made panorama and thumb pleasant for units just like the Steam Deck.
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On the subject of keyboard enter, the hackathon group additionally needed to allow avid gamers to make use of their video games controller / built-in controls to prod letters on the delicate keyboard. It’s famous that there’s already a means to make use of the Steam Deck controls globally inside Home windows. The narrator confirmed a screenshot of the Steam Deck Home windows Usermode Driver GitHub mission web page, and mentioned that Microsoft is now (or was) working with this developer.
Lately Valve has been given discover of some very critical competitors coming to the gaming handheld market. Asus launched the ROG Ally, some would say foolishly, on April Idiot’s Day. However it’s a very critical machine, touted to ship superior specs throughout the board – in addition to coming with Home windows 11 onboard for final PC gaming flexibility. Asus has beforehand efficiently pioneered new kind elements, like netbooks, and says that the ROG Ally can be “very aggressive.” Maybe it was the one associate with sufficient heft to get Microsoft to place improvement time into this Home windows 11 handheld gaming mode. If not, customers might need to place up with Asus’s notorious Armory Crate app, not less than initially.