To be fair, Microsoft is launching a great gaming Surface and there’s already a great Windows gaming tablet out there from someone else.
Panos Panay, head of Microsoft Surface and Windows, revealed something surprising about fan requests that the company make a gaming-focused Surface tablet or PC. Simply put, they’re not interested.
Here are Panos’ comments when asked directly about making a Surface device in an interview for the Surface 2022 event:
‘This is what I will say. Our gaming customers on Windows are great, what we want from the Windows side right now is to make sure we’re doing things like Direct Storage or DX12 or just the elements so you can just build the gaming rig. So you know, as we’re in this world of right now, how do we make sure we’re giving the gamers the best experience? So I don’t think it’s about Surface hardware? Actually, I just know that right now we have incredible OEMs that, what they deliver, you know? Whether it’s Legion, or Omen, or Alienware, like Razer, these products are phenomenal.”
Given that it’s now the Surface’s tenth anniversary, Microsoft would have showcased their hardware vision. Panos even revealed that the idea with the Surface wasn’t just to compete with the iPad. He had a vision for a tablet, a laptop and a PC to improve the entire Windows ecosystem. Even the critics of the product would have to admit that whether they have a personal interest in these products or not, Microsoft has succeeded in capturing their niche of the market. If they hadn’t “hit” Apple with market dominance, they were still proving the philosophical point that they could also make stylish, elegant hardware like Apple, and more importantly for Microsoft, that they could push the OEMs to move in the direction they want to see. And so we’re now seeing a plethora of Microsoft tablets, convertibles, and 2-in-1s from various OEMs, all trying to surpass what Microsoft is doing. Whether they succeed or not in the consumer’s eyes, Microsoft has already won, because their OEMs will never be complacent again.
But to come back to a gaming surface. It is very interesting that Panos is moving from the head of the Microsoft Surface hardware division to the head of the Windows OS division. Gaming was clearly not part of Panos’ original vision at all. While that could certainly change at some point in the future (Microsoft eventually gave in to adding Thunderbolt ports to their devices), we shouldn’t expect them to produce anything to seat gamers in the near future.
FWIW, their new Surface Studio 2 Plus would actually be a great gaming PC, albeit too expensive if that’s the only reason you’d buy it. This is an all-in-one PC with a large and heavy pen input screen, which can be rotated to wide and wide angles thanks to the unique dock. This PC has Intel’s 11th generation Core H i7 quad-core processor, paired with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060.
The screen would be over the top, but not undesirable for a gamer. 13.5 million pixels and more than a billion colors on a 28-inch monitor with 4K resolution. This includes Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Microsoft is also taking advantage of this screen to use a four-window display, meaning users can have 4 14-inch 4K displays at the same time.
Now, the Surface Studio 2 Plus is actually made for creatives, including digital painters, 3D artists, and video producers. Another way to look at it is that it’s a device that can be used to create games. But if people were looking for a Surface device optimized to play video games, intentionally or not, this is it.
Now if you’re looking for a tablet optimized for gaming, you’ll want the ROG Flow Z13 from ASUS. That’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 requisite cooling solutions (in this case liquid metal vapor chamber cooling combined with 0dB ambient cooling ) so you can get top performance on such a form factor. Microsoft didn’t have to make this device themselves, as the high level of interest in gamers would guarantee that one of their OEMs would try and possibly do better.
So maybe there’s something to Panos’ belief in not letting the Surface division make a gaming tablet, or other gaming-focused hardware from Microsoft. Microsoft does enough on their Windows side to allow OEMs to make those devices, and those OEMs would have more of an interest in making those devices than Microsoft anyway.
Source: The Verge via YouTube