With the popularity of handheld gaming PCs continuing to rise, an Xbox exec recently affirmed the support of Microsoft for these devices, including continued development of Windows for the form factor.
In our recent interview with Xbox Asia Business Director Jeremy Hinton, he shared his thoughts on the handheld gaming PC form factor, as well as Microsoft’s commitment to OEMs that make them.
“I’m a huge fan of that form factor, said Hinton. “In particular, I’ve been seeing all the previews coming in of the ROG Ally, and it just looks phenomenal. The previews I was browsing almost convinced me to get one [when it becomes available].”
“For this new kind of device with high-end processing in that mobile form factor, I think you will continue to see Microsoft lean in and support OEM partners in that space, both in the hardware and engineering support that they may need, along with the content and software side.”
While there have been many brands that have entered the handheld gaming PC market over the last couple of years (including the likes of Ayaneo and Onexplayer), it was the Steam Deck that arguably raised the popularity of this form factor — a device that doesn’t run Windows out-of-the-box.
Despite the Steam Deck being the most popular handheld gaming PC currently, most other handheld PCs are Windows devices, including the new ROG Ally which has been getting lots of attention recently. It even comes with three months of Game Pass Ultimate for free.
Given these, it’s no surprise that Microsoft is keen on supporting OEMs that make handhelds.
Of course, Microsoft’s current level of support hasn’t exactly translated to the best user experience. There are a number of ROG Ally reviews that pointed out that Windows 11 is not optimized well enough for this form factor.
With this in mind, Hinton said:
“I think we will continue to improve and iterate on Windows for that form factor or for the handheld gaming side of things over time to make sure that matches players’ expectations when they’re on the go. I think it’s the start of an exciting new format of device that we’re definitely excited to continue to support, and we’ll certainly be working with OEMs that are bringing these devices out. As you can see, we’ve got three months of Game Pass [with the ROG Ally] and we’re working with them on marketing through the region. It’s definitely something we’re very excited about.”
For now, it remains to be seen how Microsoft will improve the Windows user experience for handheld gaming devices. It’ll also be interesting to see if Xbox will partner with more OEMs aside from ASUS ROG with the Ally.