Microsoft is reportedly developing a heavy duty, yet portable 7-inch gaming tablet, dubbed the Xbox Surface. This is a fuse of Microsoft’s incredibly successful Xbox brand, and the the “modestly” (as Steve Ballmer puts it) successful Surface brand. As we have become used to over the last month or so, this will again mark Microsoft’s first foray into a new consumer space, the already tumultuous realm of hand held gaming.
Would the Xbox Surface compete directly with the likes of Sony’s PS Vita and the Nintendo’s 3DS, where does this product come into play, and why should I buy it? To me these are the million dollar questions, all of which would only seem to be answered once we know exactly what the product is and what kind of content it has to offer. If the Xbox surface is simply a 7-inch gaming tablet that can play Angry Birds, then I don’t see the point. But as I stated earlier, the Xbox Surface is supposed to be high powered and built for gaming, so… If it can play AAA titles that are meant for PC or Xbox then we are potentially looking at a game changer. In my opinion however, the Xbox Surface will be to the Xbox or PC what the PS Vita is to the PS3. It will have big name titles, but within a handheld package, like Assassins Creed III: Liberation or some watered down version of Halo 4.
The other question to ask is what will the interface be like and will we want to use it? If the Xbox surface relies purely on touch controls, I have a hard time believing that consumers will be rushing out cash in hand. This will especially be the case assuming that the Xbox Surface does not offer a full version of Windows 8 or at the very least Windows 8 RT to allow for more uses other than just gaming, this almost certainly will not be the case. However, if the Xbox Surface were to be available with something like a detachable controller (possibly similar to Razer’s Project Fiona concept, pictured below) or even a keyboard-and-mouse-like setup that could some how utilize a similar concept as the Touch Cover on the Surface RT, then I might be impressed.
The Xbox Surface raises a lot of interesting questions that will only be answered when Microsoft decides to release a little more information. For the time being, color me interested.