Microsoft turns the Surface Duo into the portable Xbox you've always wanted

Surface Duo Xbox Game Pass Panos Panay
Surface Duo Xbox Game Pass Panos Panay (Image credit: Panos Panay)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft's latest update to the Xbox Game Pass app features improved support for the Surface Duo.
  • With Xbox Game Pass and the Surface Duo, you can use one screen for the game and another for controls.
  • The update is available now for owners of the Surface Duo.

While the global chip shortages and increased demand for the Xbox Series X continue to make it almost impossible to get one, Xbox Game Pass has skyrocketed in popularity. One device that will take better advantage of its dual screens with mobile gaming is the Microsoft Surface Duo.

Instead of trying to find the best controllers for Xbox Game Pass, the latest update to the Android app (via Panos Panay) brings improved compatibility when using the Surface Duo. Essentially, you'll have the game itself on one of the screens, while the screen you're physically holding will have all of the controls you'll need.

Without using a physical controller, you might be wondering exactly how this dual-screened approach will work when it comes to games. Well, Microsoft and game developers have worked together to improve what controls show up on the display while you're playing. They have also optimized gameplay to account for touch controls over pressing physical buttons. Currently, there are more than 50 games with touch controls on Xbox Game Pass for Android, including some of the best games ever like Gears 5.

It's great to see Microsoft paying attention to its own device to better support its own application on Android. But we'd like to see similar improvements made for the other big foldable in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. With Game Pass and any of the best Android controllers, some have already ditched the idea of consoles altogether, but it would be awesome to see some more attention paid to using touch controls on other foldables.

The Surface Duo hasn't exactly been the hit that Microsoft was hoping for, as the company is still working on properly optimizing the software to work with two separate screens. Rumors suggest that the Surface Duo 2 is in the works and will have many of those bugs worked out. There's also hope that we'll see 2021 flagship specs, an improved camera system, and possibly even 5G network connectivity on Microsoft's next device.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.