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Microsoft yesterday blew the doors off their much rumored take on the tablet. Many expected nothing more than an iPad lite, but Microsoft, to many in the medias surprise brought their ‘A game’ to the table with a unified approach to tablet productivity, which also holds a lot of promise for the world of gaming.
Tablet and Mobile gaming is huge, thanks in part to Apple’s dedication to development tools being easy and accessible to even the smallest of developers. Microsoft knows that tools matter, as does hardware. For once, Microsoft is taking an Apple approach marrying beautiful design with beautiful software. In this case Windows RT and Windows 8. Both have been built from the ground up to utilize touch screens, and have brought to fruition the much ballyhooed new METRO UI that now sits on your Xbox 360 dashboard.
Microsoft is going for an approach of being everywhere you need to be connected and is bringing the 360 as well as its successor into the fold. But what does this mean for tablet gaming and console gaming together?
We already know that the Surface is coming in two flavors - A Windows RT version powered by Nvidia’s newest quadcore Tegra 3, which is no slouch when it comes to processing power and more fully featured Windows 8 Pro version.
For those looking to bring the complete Windows 8 experience with them on the go; the Surface Pro is the way to go. which also brings with an amazing variety of PC gaming experiences on the go, but for this blog we’re going to focus on the vanilla Surface, the version running on Windows RT.
Windows RT is a stripped down version of Windows 8 dedicated to run on ARM architectures but will still very much be using not only the new METRO style but also the new METRO APPS SDK from Microsoft. Allowing developers to easily produce one app that will be crossplatform on both Windows 8 for desktop as well the new Surface tablet.
Surface’s success, as is Windows 8 as a whole lies in its ability to drawn in great developers. It doesn’t seem to be doing to bad out the gate with EPIC Games already announcing it will be supporting the device and platform.
With LIVE being an intergral part of Microsoft’s vision for Xbox and Windows 8/RT it’s not hard to imagine a future where your XBLA titles, Windows/LIVE apps and media will travel with you wherever you go; a vision that Microsoft is already betting on with its new SmartGlass technology which seems to be a first step in bringing a LIVE experience to whatever device you own, but expect Windows 8 and Surface to be a big part of the Xbox experience in the future as well. Hell, if those leaked documents of Microsoft’s roadmap for the next Xbox are to be believed, it’s all but certain.
Microsoft is looking to be everywhere, bringing gaming and media together in a way Apple has been trying to do for years (and succeeded to a great degree); but with the Xbox’s success, Microsoft just may bring it all to bear like Apple has been unable to as of yet. Either way, a world where all of your games are connected and work together via mobile, home console and tablet is exciting no matter which way you crack it.