Microsoft is reportedly developing a handheld gaming mode for Windows that will put the power of cloud PC gaming in the palm of its customer's hands. A leaked video shows a prototype of Windows handheld mode, which would optimize Windows 11 to run on devices such as Steam Deck.
The video, which was posted on Twitter by h0x0d (WalkingCat), shows a hackathon project from September 2022, where Microsoft employees presented their ideas and prototypes for improving Windows on handheld gaming devices. The project was inspired by the Steam Deck, Valve's handheld PC gaming device that runs on a custom version of Linux called SteamOS.
In the video, we can clearly see some of the limitations and challenges Microsoft faces trying to get Windows 11 to run on a handheld device. For example, despite Windows being touch compatible for years, the platform just works better with mouse input. On a handheld device, navigating the UI with controller buttons or touch is problematic.
The narrator of the video also mentions that Valve offers drivers for Windows on Steam Deck, but they are not optimized for performance or battery life.
— WalkingCat (@_h0x0d_) April 13, 2023
New Windows Handheld Gaming Mode
Microsoft wants to address the issues and develop a Windows mode that will work seamlessly on handheld devices. That is why the company is developing a prototype launcher that opens games in PC Game Pass, EA Play, Steam, Epic Games Store, and other cloud gaming platforms. Furthermore, there will be a keyboard optimized for the Steam Deck that can be controlled with a controller, and a floating taskbar that allows quick access to settings and notifications.
The team also collaborated with a developer who created a way to use Steam Deck controls across Windows and a senior software engineer who created a gaming shell customized for Windows. The gaming shell is designed for touchscreens and controllers, offering an immersive and simplified gaming experience.
It is unclear the status of the project now or whether Microsoft has continued to develop the idea. At least it shows Microsoft is looking to catering towards the growing cloud gaming market. With devices like the Steam Deck, GPD Win 3, OneXPlayer, and Ayaneo 2 gaining popularity among PC gamers, Microsoft may want to offer them a better Windows experience in the future.
Tip of the day: When Windows 10 or Windows 11 has issues, it's not rare to run into startup problems. Corrupted Windows files, incorrect system configuration, driver failure, or registry tweaks can all cause this issue.
Using Windows startup repair can fix boot issues caused by the most prevalent issues. Though it may seem that all is lost when you run into startup problems, it's important to try a Windows boot repair so you can at least narrow down the source of the issue. If it doesn't work, you may have to reinstall the OS or test your hardware.