Many players have long fantasized about the idea of a portable Xbox (and, say, on-the-go Halo), especially during the era of the PSP and the PlayStation Vita. That dream has now come to fruition–to an extent–with official Xbox Cloud Gaming support rolling out for Microsoft’s Surface Duo phone.
This isn’t just another Xbox Cloud app. Rather, as The Verge reported, Microsoft has released a version specifically built for the two-screen functionality of the Surface Duo that basically turns the device into something similar to a Nintendo DS. With a virtual Xbox gamepad on the bottom screen and the game on the top screen, you’ll be able to hold it like a DS to stream Xbox games.
Microsoft is turning its Surface Duo into a handheld Xbox today. The latest app update for Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) let’s you use one screen for touch controls and the other for the game. It’s like a Nintendo 3DS with Xbox games. Details here: https://t.co/ubbsEAW3r8 pic.twitter.com/aP94t9xgzC
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) May 24, 2021
While Xbox Cloud Gaming supports Bluetooth controllers on any device, players who don’t own an extra controller have to deal with touchscreen controls. On a single-screen device, touch controls naturally obstruct the view of the game you’re playing. As a result, moving those controls down to the second Surface Duo screen has immediate benefits for players who don’t use a separate gamepad. This control scheme works across any of the Xbox Cloud games that currently support touch controls.
Microsoft has been gradually launching its games streaming service since last fall, and it’s currently available just to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. It’s been usable on Android devices for some time, and in April, the company released the app to beta testers on iOS and PC. Users on iPads and iPhones currently have a different experience than Android users, as Apple policies have forced Microsoft to support cloud gaming only through browsers on Apple devices. If you’re interested in trying out Xbox Cloud Gaming yourself, new subscribers can get their first month for $1.