Microsoft Announce “Surface” – The Tablet For Gamers?

[drop2]Overnight Microsoft announced Surface, their going up against iPad Windows RT / 8 tablet. It’s a brave move, but this is Microsoft and – Zune aside – have been rather successful with their brave moves in the past.

Read: Xbox.

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Because it’s going to be less of a walled garden than Apple’s device, many are assuming that it’ll be better for gamers.

The machine itself packs a punch and it’s likely that all manner of control devices will be available rather than just the touch screen – something that still alienates a lot of gamers.

Epic’s Mark Rein seems confident anyway, tweeting that he “can’t wait to get some Unreal Engine games on those babies” and it’s not hard to see why. Tablet devices live or die on their software support, so this is a highly encouraging first start.

And whilst Windows phones haven’t exactly been inundated with gaming ‘apps’, they have attempted to mirror the Xbox experience with the titles that have been released, perhaps only hamstrung by the format and variation in devices.

Something that Surface combats immediately on both counts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpzu3HM2CIo

For me though it’s that standard USB port and the chance to plug in an regular 360 controller – I’ve grown more fond of tablets over the years and gradually don’t use a PC for anything I don’t have too.

If Surface can echo some of the best Xbox games without me needing to switch on my TV then I’ll move away from that too.

And of course, this steers away from the Xbox platform a little – sure, Surface (or at least the Windows 8 version) is basically a PC, but it’s one that’s capable of going up against the iPad with, potentially, a huge array of Windows games.

This is hugely interesting. Tablets are becoming ever more popular and Apple’s stranglehold desperately needs some competition. Whether or not it’ll be Windows and Surface remains to be seen, but from here it looks like Microsoft are doing everything right.

Now we just need some pricing. And games.

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40 Comments

  1. The video has got my attention well and truely grabbed, it looks brilliant! Looking forward to funding out more.

    • I don’t think Bill will need any funding from u somehow ;)

  2. If this is a capable games machine I’m sold. I’ve been eyeing up a tablet for a while, and have been away from PC gaming for too long!

  3. Onlive this and an Xbox controller. Maybe we’ll get a selection of Xbox games too. A little excited.

  4. I’ve held off Asus Trans’ve been waiting to see what Samsung throw out in the Summer. Guess I’ll get this now tho. With the top end specs too!

  5. It seems to missing one very important thing required by games.. buttons.

    • Well given the cover thingy for it seems to be a keyboard they’ve go buttons covered.

      • So its a laptop then. Just a squished flat one with a touchscreen.

    • From another gaming point of view, I don’t want to carry around my games console, power lead and controller, and even if I did use it at home, I’d rather use my larger TV, which doesn’t have finger prints all over it, and isn’t likely to fall off it’s stand at the slightest knock. Don’t get me wrong, as a PC user this would be a great alternative to a laptop for me, but I really can’t ever see me using any tablet for gaming – especially when the cost is quite high, and a tablet won’t have the 10-year PlayStation lifecycle.

      Nice bit of kit though.

    • Surely it’ll be 360 controller compatible like all other windows ‘puters? They could be generous and include one with the Surface.

    • @Tuffcub
      Shh! The gimmick is, this one folds in more ways than one! Don’t let other people who are excited for this thing know that. They still think this is innovation!

    • Wireless 360 controllers can fix that. I haven’t read the specs but you could potentially hook this up to your TV via HDMI and have a basic PC/Console experience that you can take with you, if you want to.

  6. I love my gadgets. Yes, I really do love them. But, and this is a biggie, I can’t justify to myself spending circa £500 on a machine which is of a lower spec than my laptop. For me the choice is clear –
    Tablet – Cost more and does less.
    Laptop – Costs less and does a lot more.

    Tablets still have too much of the ‘shiny’ effect for me and that puts me off. If anyone can come up with a clear reason why I should go for a tablet instead of a laptop then please let me know.

    • Ease of use, comfortability and most importantly, speed. With a PC/Laptop you have to wait ages for it to turn on, you can access most of your content near instantly on a tablet. I still think both are useful.

      • @uncleniccius
        Quote: “Ease of use, comfortability and most importantly, speed. With a PC/Laptop you have to wait ages for it to turn on, you can access most of your content near instantly on a tablet. I still think both are useful.”

        So, smart phone, yes? …

        I don’t get all this hype for tablets. If you have a smartphone, that’s all you need. You don’t need to bother with anything else that does the same just because its on a bigger screen. I was debating this with a friend the other day. He was trying to justify the reason for buying an iPad AFTER purchasing an iPhone. I asked him why, he just said he wanted to. I told him why, and how, he has just wasted hundreds of pounds. He said he didn’t care, because he just wanted a tablet…

        Not much of a good reason, is it?

    • Amphlett, I was exactly the same as you for years, until recently buying an iPad for the wife. Since then, I haven’t touched my laptop, I’m not joking, I literally haven’t picked it up.
      Admittedly it depends on what you use it for, but for me it does 90% of what I want it for. The only thing i don’t like is gaming, because I prefer buttons/controller.
      This Surface is touching on that and could change a lot of gaming habits from consoles.
      Infact I would go as far to say that what we see here is possibly what the new xbox could be like, but on a smaller scale and not as powerful.

  7. It looks really cool, I love the fold out stand and adding that fold out keyboard it still looks slim. Lets see what the specs are…….

  8. Thing is, it won’t have what I use my iPad for: music apps. At least not at first.

    But gaming? Possibly.

    • It seems to address the shortcomings of the iPad whilst trying to beat them at their own games. The App store is hard to overthrow (for Apple) so it’ll be one hell of a test for Microsoft. Still… lovely hardware showcase and great to see such a serious contender. Good news for consumers.

      • Here’s hoping Microsoft’s app store for Windows is as successful. I think given the number of Windows 8 devices expected to be sold in the next year it is likely to attract the necessary developers.

    • Please don’t tell me you actually pay for music?!

  9. There’s two Surface tablets.

    A Windows RT version is likely to be around the £400-500 mark but won’t have the Windows desktop we know so well. Think of it as a Windows Pad.

    It’s the Surface Pro that should be of interest to gamers. Full Windows and a nice i5 Sandy Bridge chip driving it all will see it as capable as current laptop for gaming. The only question is how much RAM. Current Windows tablets are around 2GB. However Mircosoft have stated that it’s going to be Ultrabook priced, ie around £800-1000.

    I’m looking at getting the Pro especially with the pen support.

  10. There is no such thing as a “tablet for gamers”. Tablets are a waste of time in my eyes if they were good they would have caught on when microsoft announced it YEARS ago. Things have changed im aware but those tablets had a pretty much full XP OS on them as opposed to these restricted mobile versions!

    • Read what I put as the Pro tablet is a fully spec’ed device. With full Windows on it.

      • For £800 odd quid? I think Ill pass my brothers laptop is just as portable and has better specs and cost only £600. Not only that for £100 more that is the total cost of my custom build and I have an i7, watercooling, Radeon HD 7850 and 16GB RAM. These things are terribly overpriced.

      • Also I was just looking at some specs on PC Gamer. It only comes with either 64GB or 128GB internal Memory and a 10.6″ screen. Pretty terrible if you ask me. Gaming on a screen like that would be rather tough and possibly a disadvantage.

    • Agree with you, Burgess. Baffles me that people are saying, “Ooh, a tablet you can connect a keyboard and controller to – great for gamers!” A tablet with a keyboard is basically a laptop, and they’ve been around for years. What’s more, they’re cheaper, better spec’d, and – for the price of the top-end Surface – offer far better value.

      As far as speed is concerned, I’m told by a friend who’s a huge Windows fan that laptops running Win7 boot in seconds.

      • @Paranoimia, you’ve hit the nail on the head there for me. These tablets are more expensive, have a lower spec, lower on-board storage and have fewer ready multi-media options.

      • Stick a SSD in there it will take seconds not sure on a HDD. Either way on either granted you have a decent SATA HDD it will load very quickly. Mine on my SSD takes about 16 seconds to boot thats from power on to desktop.

      • My Windows 7 tablet with an SSD boots very quickly. (Tho now it’s Windows 8).

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