Microsoft Sees Success with Xbox Touch Controls

Posted on December 2, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Project xCloud, Xbox with 3 Comments

Xbox touch controls are now available on over 100 Xbox Cloud Gaming titles, and they’re used by over 20 percent of gamers, Microsoft says.

“Touch controls are one of the top player-requested features for cloud gaming titles,” Microsoft’s Monty Hernandez says. “Xbox touch controls unlock new ways for gamers to interact with their games, providing fans with even more choice in how and when they play. Working with game developers to bring touch controls to over 100 games in the Xbox Game Pass catalog, we’ve learned a lot along the way from working with our partners.”

For those unfamiliar, Xbox Cloud Gaming streams Xbox console games from Microsoft’s datacenters to clients as small as a smartphone. For the most part, gamers interact with these games as they do on console, by attaching an Xbox Wireless Controller. But with Xbox touch controls, some of these titles can be interacted with directly via a game overlay on a smartphone or tablet display.

What Microsoft has found so far is that 20 percent of gamers use these touch controls exclusively on mobile devices, since they provide a native-like experience. Some games—including Dragon’s Quest XI, Football Manager 2022 Xbox Edition, Hades, Minecraft Dungeons, New Super Lucky’s Tale, Scarlet Nexus, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon—the usage is even higher, at 30 percent. And those games that have implemented Xbox touch controls see roughly double the usage across genres.

When developers bring a game to Xbox Cloud Gaming, they can do so with no code changes at all, of course, or they can make their game minimally or fully cloud-aware. Games that are minimally cloud-aware require a minimal code investment, Microsoft says, while those that are fully cloud-aware require a bit more work.

Developers interested in adapting their titles for Xbox touch controls should check out the Touch Adaptation Kit (TAK) documentation on Microsoft Docs.

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Comments (3)

3 responses to “Microsoft Sees Success with Xbox Touch Controls”

  1. christianwilson

    I'm not surprised this is a popular feature and I'm glad Microsoft is putting effort into making it work well. I have never been able to play games with touchscreen controls but I have watched kids play games like pros using only touch. It baffles me, but I accept that I come from a different era of gaming.

    • jgraebner

      Yep, same here. I'm pretty much incapable of playing successfully with the touch controls, but I'm pretty sure this falls into the "can't teach an old dog new tricks" category. :)

  2. ronh

    Games are so fast paced nowadays that it is hard for us elders the build the new muscle memory required.

    Need a slo motion option!