Surface Duo Support for Dual Screen Cloud Gaming Arrives

Posted on March 20, 2021 by Brad Sams in Hardware with 9 Comments

While the Surface Duo is a device that you either love or rarely think about, there is one thing that has always been a bit befuddling with the hardware – its support for Xbox Cloud Gaming. The device, which is the company’s first foray into the truly mobile segment in many years, does not have robust support for Microsoft’s own services.

Namely, the company launched Cloud Gaming and the Duo not far apart but the Duo, which has an optimal design for Cloud Gaming, didn’t make use of the service in a way that would increase its appeal. But that’s changing with the latest update.

As first spotted by Windows Central, a recent update to the Duo can turn the device into an Xbox ‘Nintendo 3DS’. What I mean is that the touch controls can now be on one screen while your gameplay shows up on the other; this is the optimal setting for using the Duo with Cloud Gaming.

I gave this setup a quick spin and I will say that it works well…sometimes. What I mean is that for games like Minecraft Dungeons, this is a good setup. But I would not try to play FPS titles like Gears of War on this type of configuration as touch controls are not always the easiest to use.

You can watch the video of how the setup works but know that it is quite hard to have your hands extended with a camera in front of you while using touch controls – I’m trying to make excuses for my poor gameplay.

That being said, for titles where touch controls are supported and the style of the game isn’t designed around quick reactions, the Duo creates a unique experience. It’s a shame that this functionality wasn’t available at launch but late is better than never.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Surface Duo Support for Dual Screen Cloud Gaming Arrives”

  1. bart

    Imagine a case for this phone which can flip on one screen and has build in (hardware) buttons

  2. lewk

    I wish they added it to the Duo and not just gamepass for xcloud. I'd love to play some mobile games from the play store with these controls.

  3. ruivo

    I never got used to touch controls for games. It is the problem that makes me hate touch screens in cars, you either look at the controls or you look at the thing you are trying to do.

  4. b6gd

    Did anyone actually buy those things?

    • prjman

      In reply to b6gd: Very few. MS isn't to be trusted in the phone world, as they have orphaned too many loyal customers. The same could be said for a whole bunch of their consumer focused efforts.

      • CaymanDreamin

        In reply to prjman: So Palm and Blackberry can't be trusted because they had platforms that failed? I had Palm PDAs, Treos and a Pre+, but the end was obvous when it came. I stuck with Windows Phone from a Samsung Focus thru a 950xl. I use a launcher on my android device to make it more like WP because I feel it was a superior OS, it just didn't have the app support it needed to survive. That being said, I can't fault MS for closing it down and I believe they supported it longer than what made sense from a business perspective.

        • mrlinux11

          In reply to CaymanDreamin:
          Well doing things like making the first Windows phone 7 not upgradable to Windows phone 8 on devices less than a year old,well that did not inspire confidence in Microsoft's committent to their customers.

  5. remc86007

    I tried it out with my wife's Duo yesterday and it worked surprisingly well! It really is incredible how they've gotten the latency down so low. You could actually play Super Lucky's Tale and time the jumps just fine. The formfactor of the duo really works well for it too. It feels so nice and light in the hand.

    I wish they would have launched the Duo at $1k. I think they would have had a lot more of the hype turn into sales. I am hopeful for a Surface Duo 2. I like my wife's duo enough that I think I'd upgrade to the Duo 2 from my Note 10 if it ever comes out.

  6. rmac

    Afraid I still don't get the Duo-screen value proposition. Whilst it's very nice for a dev to be able to create a 'software specific instance' of some touch controls, it's surely a 'too expensive affordance' to grant a bunch of input keys an entire screen?

    For me the cost does not warrant a 2-screen approach. I can grant any estate for touch controls as a percentage: 1/4 screen, 1/3 screen, 1/2 screen on a single screen device - just like any keypad on a single screen Android or iOS mob.

    Tell me I'm missing something but this is a solution looking for a problem.