Why Microsoft needs an Xbox gaming laptop

Why Microsoft needs an Xbox gaming laptop

It’s been a big few months for Microsoft’s hardware endeavors. Last year, the company unveiled the Surface Book 3, a unique melding of notebook and tablet that Microsoft calls “the ultimate laptop,” followed by the shockingly potent Surface Laptop 4 in 2021. The long-awaited Xbox Series X console also launched on November 10, and it probably puts your PC to shame (especially since you can’t buy a GPU right now). But what I want is something that straddles those two worlds and solidifies Microsoft’s position as a driving force in gaming—and yes, that includes PC gaming.

I want an Xbox gaming laptop, built with the same attention to detail as the Surface lineup, but focused on highlighting the best of Microsoft’s gaming innovations and what’s possible on the PC.

Diehard PC enthusiasts may scoff—it’s hard to look past the epic failure of Games for Windows Live—but hear me out.

Why Xbox matters for PC gaming

Windows 10 Game Bar - New Microsoft

Windows 10’s Game Bar in Forza.

Under Phil Spencer’s stewardship, Microsoft’s Xbox division has doubled down on PC gaming, introducing new features that improve the lives of PC gamers even if they aren’t aware of them. A lot of those benefits are intrinsically tied to the underlying DirectX 12 graphics technology shared between Windows 10 and Xbox, but there’s more than DX12 at play as Microsoft works toward leveling up everyone’s gaming experience.

Before real-time ray tracing could debut in modern graphics cards, Microsoft added DirectX Raytracing to Windows. DirectX 12 Ultimate enshrines other cutting-edge technologies (mostly Nvidia innovations) into both Windows and the forthcoming Xbox Series X for the good of all gamers—including Radeon owners. Microsoft’s forward-thinking Xbox Play Anywhere initiative lets you buy a game once, then play it on PCs or consoles, and it’s been bolstered by the company’s impressive support of cross-play features. Xbox Games Pass for PC is the best value in gaming today, offering well over 100 games for $10 per month. Even the Windows 10 Game Bar kicks ass now.

To pave the road for the Xbox Series X’s ray tracing support, a recent beta made Minecraft the new gold standard for ray tracing. Seriously: It’s stunning.

Xbox isn’t just for the living room any more. It’s the brand for all of Microsoft’s gaming ambitions, uniting PCs and consoles alike. But sadly, Microsoft’s most innovative gaming technology isn’t emphasized in the recent Surface releases, even though some could be used as gaming devices.

Surface Book 3 gets ray tracing, kind of

The Surface Book 3 was a serious improvement to an already glorious hybrid. The latest version upped the ante with Intel’s latest 10th-gen processors, modern Nvidia GPUs, massive storage and memory upgrades, and even a more potent power brick to sidestep the energy-draw woes that served as the one glaring drawback in the last model. It’s everything we could’ve asked for in an update.

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