Microsoft is exploring early concepts around a Windows handheld mode for devices like the Steam Deck. A leaked video shows early concept and prototype work for an optimized Windows 11 UI for handhelds, and a launcher and Windows gaming shell that’s designed for touchscreens and controllers. A hackathon project from September shows a launcher that can open games from Steam, PC Game Pass, EA Play, and more. The team working on this project also started working with a developer that created a way to use Steam Deck controls across Windows.
While this project may never ship, it’s encouraging to see Microsoft employees pushing for it to happen as there are signs that we’ll start to see even more Windows handheld devices soon, too. Companies like GPD and OneXPlayer or even the Ayaneo 2 have been relying on Windows without an optimized UI from Microsoft, which means they have to build their own interfaces and launchers to make Windows more controller and handheld friendly. With the announcement of the Asus ROG Ally, a Windows handheld mode certainly makes a lot of sense right now.