Xbox Game Pass app turns Surface Duo into hand-held console

A new Microsoft update for the Xbox Game Pass allow the dual-screen of the Surface Pro to work as screen and controller

Microsoft Surface Duo with Xbox Game Pass
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Xbox Game Pass has been updated to allow the dual-screen Surface Pro to morph into a hand-held game console. When placed in split-screen mode, it allows the bottom screen to be used as an Xbox control pad, while the top screen shows the game. 

While Xbox has added onscreen controls previously to allow the games to be played on tablets and smartphones without a physical controller, this is the first time it has worked with a split-screen display. The update currently works with the Microsoft Surface Duo but is likely to roll out to other foldable and dual-screen tablets and hybrids in time.

The result looks like a super-sized Nintendo DS, and while the display should work well, it’s not the cheapest way to play. The Surface Duo retails from $999/£1349 for the 128GB version, and the Xbox Game Pass is another $14.99/£10.99 a month. However, if you already have a dual or folding screen device (especially the Surface Duo) then it’s a no-brainer.

Microsoft Surface Duo with Xbox Game Pass

Courtesy of Carolina Milanesi

(Image credit: Carolina Milanesi)

According to 9to5 Google, who first reported the story, not all the games on Xbox Game Pass have been optimized for split-screen controls. However, the list is already over 50 of the 170+ touchscreen titles and includes titles such as Gears of War 5, Sea of Thieves, Minecraft Dungeons and Spiritfarer.

With Xbox Cloud Gaming also come to PC and iOS devices natively, I hope we will see split-screen support for more devices soon. The updated version of the Xbox Game Pass with Surface Duo support is available for download now from the Google Store.

Apple Mac mini M1X

(Image credit: FTP/ Jon Prosser)
Mat Gallagher

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat Gallagher has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, Apple, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.