Microsoft mulls 'Xbox Surface' slate for games
Logical seven-inch extension of SmartGlass?
Microsoft wants to release a 7in gaming tablet, with hardware planning for an "Xbox Surface" already in the works, sources claim.
Details of the device - which was first mooted in June when speculation pointed towards an E3 games show reveal - indicate the use of custom ARM chippery and high-bandwidth memory geared specifically towards gaming, the Verge reports.
Moles who claim to be in the know say the specifications could be altered to incorporate an as-yet-unannounced Intel SoC, however.
The Xbox Surface will run a custom Windows kernel focused on gaming activities, although messaging and other basic tablet functions would probably be supported too.
Microsoft recently locked down several Xbox-related buildings at its offices in Silicon Valley, limiting employee access and sending Xbox Surface rumours into overdrive.
Mum's the word as usual at Redmond HQ, with a spokesperson refusing to comment on rumours.
Those unable to keep their tongues to themselves say we'll see an Xbox Surface tablet launch ahead of the much-rumoured 'Xbox 720' console. But an exact release timeframe for that badboy remains just as firmly in the speculative realm. ®
Really REALLY serious gamers sit opposite their opponent across a wooden chess board.
It is possible to be a casual gamer who fancies a quick bout of Tekken or MicroMachines. We did have more than twenty years of joysticks and gamepads being nearly the only control option for action games.
Though your definition of 'casual gamer' seems to be (not unreasonably) 'someone who hasn't bought specialist hardware', the term was first used to describe people playing on the Nintendo Wi.
If the standard Xbox controller could be used with this it has the potential to be fine. If we're being asked to use on-screen control, forget it.
I've wished for a long time that Microsoft would do a portable gaming machine.
Not sure if this is it though. They'll need to get the controls spot on.
Not sure how best to do that on a tablet. Probably a somewhat smaller version of the current XBox controller.
Agreed. This problem has been the bane of hardcore games phones for years. Even a system with a dedicated touchscreen - the Nintendo DS - doesn't use it beyond a couple of quick time events and menu navigation because it doesn't allow for fast responses or multiple simultaneous inputs. Even if a touchscreen could register four finger presses at once, you wouldn't be able to play because your hand would be over the screen.
A gaming system must have dedicated (and ergonomic) gaming controls.
Well, MS have had fun in the past making mice that change shape for portability (the Arc mouse)... maybe they'll try the same for a game controller. Slinging a full-fat mouse and PSU into a chunky laptop bag is no problem, but tablets seem to live in more svelte cases.
A few things: Interesting that MS are making this tablet dedicated to gaming, when the trend has been to use general purpose mobile devices for gaming, despite compromised control schemes.
Despite that trend, no big player seems to have really made an effect towards mobile gaming on a general purpose device; Apple already sell enough devices not to have to bother, Sony have bought PSP games to Android devices but have been limited in the hardware they support, trying to keep the party to themselves.
Curiously, you can use the PS3 gamepad on any PC with Bluetooth (with 3rd party software) or Android device (ditto). To use a wireless MS XBOX controller on a PC requires an extra hardware dongle from MS.