The new update has turned the hardware into a handheld gaming console thanks to touchscreen support, which repurposes the second screen as a pad.
Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer at Microsoft announced the update, saying “Working with Xbox we’ve put touch controls on the second screen” and confirmed that “more than 50 games are available to play with touch for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members.”
A very cool update goes live for #SurfaceDuo customers today! Working with @Xbox we've put touch controls on to the second screen. More than 50 games are available to play with touch for @xboxGamePass Ultimate Members. pic.twitter.com/ZPIqQZXxS4
— Panos Panay (@panos_panay) May 24, 2021
The full list of games that feature touch controls actually numbers 66, and can be seen by going to the official Xbox Game Pass page, and filter for Touch Controls.
There are a wide range of games available, from indie titles to AAA blockbusters, and highlights include Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Slay the Spire, Gears 5, What Remains of Edith Finch and Sea of Thieves.
As described, players will need an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which will grant access to Cloud Streaming, as well as Game Pass on PC and Xbox.
Microsoft first made its cloud streaming service available in April. The service works entirely in browser, including on Safari for iOS, meaning almost any mobile phone can be made into a portable console – similar to how the Surface update works.
Since then, an official iOS update has made pairing Bluetooth controllers with iPhones official. This update meant that players were finally able to use Dual Sense and Xbox Series controllers with iPhones, without needing a third-party solution.
Recently, Microsoft promised a reduction in fees for developers who sold games from their stores. Microsoft was previously taking 30 per cent of each sale, but the cut will see it match the Epic Games Store at 12 per cent in an effort to entice developers to list games on their platform and stores.
Microsoft later clarified that this change will only happen on its PC store, and the console store will continue to maintain its 30 per cent cut.