To be fair, Microsoft is launching a great gaming surface, and there’s already a great Windows gaming tablet from someone else.
Microsoft Surface and Windows CEO Panos Panay revealed something surprising about fan requests for the company to create a gaming-focused Surface tablet or PC. Quite simply, they are not interested.
Here are comments from Panos when asked directly about making a Surface device in an interview for the Surface 2022 event:
“Here’s what I want to say. Our game clients on Windows are amazing. What we want now from the Windows side is to make sure we do things, like direct save or DX12, or just the elements so you can just build the game rig. So you know, as we’re now in this world of, how do we make sure we’re giving players their best experience? So I don’t think it’s about Surface hardware? Actually, I just know that we have incredible OEMs right now, what they’re delivering, you know? Whether it’s Legion, or Omen, or Alienware, like Razer, these products are phenomenal.”
Given that it is now the tenth anniversary of the Surface, Microsoft would have put its hardware vision through the ringer. In fact, Panos revealed that the idea of the Surface was not just to compete with the iPad. He had a vision for a tablet, a laptop and a PC, to elevate the entire Windows ecosystem. Even the product’s critics have to admit that, whether they have a personal interest in these products or not, Microsoft has succeeded in carving out its niche in the market. If they hadn’t “defeated” Apple with market dominance, they still proved the philosophical point that they too could make stylish, elegant hardware like Apple, and more importantly for Microsoft, that they could encourage the OEMs to move in the direction they want to see. And then we now see a range of Microsoft tablets, convertibles and 2-in-1s from various OEMs, all trying to outdo what Microsoft is doing. Whether they succeed in doing this or not in the minds of consumers, Microsoft has already won, because their OEMs will never be complacent again.
But getting back to a game surface. It is quite interesting that Panos is shifting gears from being the head of the Microsoft Surface hardware division, to the head of the Windows OS division. Games were clearly not part of Panos’ original vision at all. While that could definitely change at some point in the future (Microsoft finally gave in to adding Thunderbolt ports to their devices), we shouldn’t expect them to produce anything for gamers in the near future.
FWIW, their new Surface Studio 2 Plus would actually be a great gaming PC, albeit overpriced if that’s the only reason you’re getting it. This is an all-in-one PC with a large and heavy pen input screen, which can be turned around in wide and wide angles thanks to its unique docking station. This PC has Intel’s 11th generation Core H i7 quad-core processor, along with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060.
The screen would be overkill, but not undesirable for a gamer. 13 and a half million pixels and over a billion colors come in a 28-inch screen with 4K resolution. Along with that are Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Microsoft is also using this display to use a quad-window display, which means users can have 4 14-inch 4K displays at the same time.
Now, Surface Studio 2 Plus is actually made for creatives, including digital painters, 3D artists and video makers. Another way to look at it is that it is a device that can be used to create games. But if people were looking for a Surface device optimized for playing video games, intentionally or not, this is it.
Now, if you are looking for a tablet, which is optimized for gaming, the ASUS ROG Flow Z13 is what you want. It’s an incredible tablet that not only has an RTX 3050 paired with Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs and a dedicated MUX switch for high-end gaming, it also has the cooling solutions required (in this case liquid metal vapor chamber cooling combined with 0dB ambient cooling) so that you can achieve peak performance in such a form factor. Microsoft didn’t need to make this device themselves, as the high interest among gamers would guarantee that one of their OEMs would try it, and possibly make it better.
So maybe there’s something to Panos’s conviction not to let the Surface division make a gaming tablet, or any Microsoft gaming-focused hardware. Microsoft is doing enough on their Windows side to enable OEMs to make these devices, and those OEMs will have more interest in making these devices than Microsoft anyway.
Source: The Verge via YouTube