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The Surface Duo can now display Xbox game controls on the second screen

A Surface Duo running Minecraft Dungeons using Xbox Cloud Gaming with controls on the bottom screen
Image credit: Panos Panay (Twitter)

Microsoft's Surface Duo is getting a very welcome improvement for Xbox Game Pass gamers. Starting today, you'll be able to play touch-enabled games on Microsoft's dual-screen device by displaying the video feed on the top screen and the controls on the bottom screen.

The announcement was made by Microsoft's Panos Panay on Twitter, and there's a picture displaying what it looks like. The form factor makes it somewhat reminiscent of a Nintendo DS or, more accurately, a GameBoy Advance SP, with the clamshell design and the controls on the bottom half.

Currently, 66 games are listed on the Xbox Game Pass website as having support for touch controls, and being able to separate them from the game video is a major improvement, since you don't have to have your fingers in the way of the action. Of course, you could always use a Bluetooth controller, but then you'd have to carry that around in addition to your phone, which isn't always convenient.

This is a potential advantage of the Surface Duo over phones with foldable displays, like the Huawei Mate X2. Even with a big display, the controls for games will be on top of the game while playing, unless specific optimization is done for it. Of course, that could still happen, but Surface Duo is the only phone that can do this right now.

Given that it's been over a month since the last Surface Duo update, it's likely this new feature is arriving alongside the monthly security patch and other improvements. There's no update listed on the support page yet, however.

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