Microsoft prototyping Windows handheld mode for Steam Deck-like devices

Microsoft Working Improving Windows Steam Deck Thumbnail

With the release of the Steam Deck back in 2022, demand for handheld PC gaming has never been greater. Microsoft is now experimenting in ways to improve the UI experience of Windows 11 on Steam Deck and handheld PCs.

A leaked video (via The Verge) shows footage of a Microsoft hackathon discussing ideas for a gamer-centric UI for better navigation for those using the Steam Deck. Here’s the video:

It’s important to note that the Steam Deck does not use Windows natively, and instead uses SteamOS 3 as its operating system. In fact, the leaked video does mention this caveat, which does lean towards the potential to improve on this front.

However, that doesn’t mean Windows 11 cannot run on the device, as one can officially install the operating system and run it normally with mostly no problems. There have also been numerous handheld PC announced and launched in the past year which do use Windows 10/11.

So assuming Microsoft does continue on and create a proper UI with their operating system for such handheld devices, this would go along way for improving the experience and adoption of this emerging market.

This can also serve as a way to get those who already game mainly on their PC to adopt a handheld device as a secondary console for when they wish to game while traveling or simply away from their desk.

The video showed off some conceptual ideas drafted up by senior UX designer, Dorothy Feng, which integrates popular launchers beyond Steam such as Epic Games Store and EA Play.

Of course this is all conceptual at this time, so it’s entirely possible we will never see Microsoft’s potential mobile improvements for Windows 11. This could also lead to Microsoft launching their own dedicated gaming handheld.

This is Niche Gamer Tech. In this column, we regularly cover tech and things related to the tech industry.

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Got into gaming thanks to a nice old lady who lived across the street. Enjoy most genres of games.

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