MICROSOFT has unveiled the world’s first handheld Xbox.
Following a software update yesterday, users of the US firm’s Surface Duo smartphone can turn the device into a portable gaming console.
- Read the latest stories for PS5
- Keep up-to-date with all the Xbox news
- Read the latest gaming news
The bottom half of the dual-display, foldable gadget becomes a virtual gamepad, while the top half shows gameplay, The Verge reports.
It leaves the gadget looking more like a Nintendo 3DS than a mobile phone, with touch controls for a range of games.
More than 50 titles are available to play on the new system, including Gears 5, Minecraft Dungeons and Sea of Thieves.
Accessing them requires a £10.99/$14.99 a month subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Game Pass has been described as “Netflix for games”, giving you access to dozens of titles that you can stream to your device over the internet.
To try out the new portable Xbox, you’ll need a Surface Duo (obviously) as well as the latest version of the Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) app.
The update to the Android app was rolled out to Surface Duo devices on Monday, Microsoft’s Panos Panay said.
“Working with Xbox, we’ve put touch controls on to the second screen,” the company’s Chief Product Officer tweeted.
Video game streaming – how does it work?
We explain it all…
- When you watch a movie, the images you see are already prepared
- That’s why very unsophisticated computers inside your TV, DVD player, or computer can playback film footage
- But video games render the visuals in real-time, because a game never knows what you’ll do next
- That means you need much more computing heft to produce game visuals, compared to a standard movie
- So if you want amazing 4K PC-style graphics, you’ll need to fork out for an expensive computer
- Alternatively, you could use game streaming technology
- The idea is that a company like Google, Microsoft or Sony would handle the generation of the visuals on powerful computers at its own HQ
- Then it would send what’s effectively a video of that game to your smartphone
- You tap and play, and those commands get sent back to Microsoft or Sony, which then inputs them into the game, and sends you the visuals again
- Because modern internet connections are so fast, this all happens in milliseconds
- The resulting effect is 4K PC-style graphics on a smartphone – which is only possible because it’s not the phone itself rendering the graphics
- It also means that you could potentially be playing an Xbox or PlayStation game on your console, and then leave the house and carry on playing using your iPhone
- This sort of technology could eventually kill off gaming consoles for good, because all you’d need is a TV with game-streaming tech built in, and a controller to play with
- But game streaming is still trying to get off the ground
- Sony bought a game-streaming called OnLive, but shut it down in 2015
- Google launched the relatively successful Stadia last year
- And Microsoft is currently preparing to launch its xCloud streaming service
“More than 50 games are available to play with touch for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Members.”
The updated app is available now in Google Play Store.
Microsoft’s launched its foldable Android phone with two screens in February for an eye-watering £1,349.
Its two “paper-thin” 5.6in displays can be used individually, or unfolded into a single 8.1in display.
The firm reckons the two screens let users do more at once.
This could mean having two apps open at the same time and dragging content between them, such as photos, text or files. Or perhaps watching Netflix while tapping out an email.
Microsoft’s Surface range had previously comprised laptops and tablets.
The Surface Duo is a new arrival in the emerging category of foldable phones, taking on the likes of Samsung, Motorola and Huawei.
All three of those tech giants have released devices featuring flexible screens in the past year.
Gaming tips and tricks
Looking for tips and tricks across your favourite consoles and games? We have you covered…
Fortnite to launch alien-themed season tomorrow – here’s what you need to know
Fortnite skins Chapter 2 Season 7: All the characters you can unlock
Microsoft is giving away FREE Xbox Series X consoles to people for playing games
Where to buy Nvidia RTX 3080Ti – best deals and locations
Nintendo Switch Pro price REVEALED by shop ‘just one week before launch’
Huge PS5 restock ‘to drop on TODAY with 13,000 consoles up for grabs’
In other news, The Sun’s favourite alternative to a games console is the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset.
Check out the wildly impressive Panasonic 65HZ1000 TV, which makes most tellies look rubbish.
And Dell’s Alienware R10 Ryzen Edition is a gaming PC powerhouse that crushes both the new consoles.
What do you make of the handheld Xbox? Let us know in the comments!
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at [email protected]