The relative success of the Steam Deck It has caught more than one by surprise, but above all it has served to make the sector of mini-PCs in the form of a hybrid console capture the interest of the general public. Despite actually being a standard PC capable of running Windows, Valve’s device runs SteamOS 3 as the operating system, a derivative of the popular Arch Linux distribution, but tuned for common users and with immutability properties to prevent tampering with the system. system.
One of the main factors that have made the Steam Deck the leader in its sector, in addition to value for money, is the operating system. Not because of the novelty, but because of the fact that it consumes less resources than Windows. That has allowed it to have, at least so far, better performance than most of its rivals, but that could be numbered according to the most recent leaks from Microsoft, which indicate that the Redmond giant is experimenting with Windows prototypes with a user interface optimized for such devices.
The existence of the Windows 11 prototype adapted to mini-PCs with a hybrid console format has been revealed through a video that has been leaked as part of a project hackathon that Microsoft would have put into operation last September. Hackathon projects consist of ideas or projects presented by the employees themselves that end up receiving the support of the executives to start their development.
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Valve is not opposed to installing Windows on the Steam Deck and what’s more, it even offers the necessary drivers to make Microsoft’s operating system work. However, ahead the challenge of adapting the interface and Windows support to device controlssince the current interface, at least for now, makes it difficult to navigate with touch controls and the controller, plus it lacks a launcher like the one that SteamOS 3 has.
The hybrid console version of Windows 11 mini-PC would not only adapt the user interface, but also provide an easy path to open the clients for Steam, Epic Games Store, Game Pass, EA Play and more. Other aspects that would include a keyboard optimized for the Steam Deck that can be used even with a controller and a floating taskbar.
While developing an alternative to SteamOS 3 by adapting the Windows 11 interface, Microsoft has enabled access to Xbox Cloud using the Edge web browser with the Linux-based system. The adaptation of the Windows 11 interface is just one of the legs that Microsoft must polish to compete with SteamOS 3, but for most users it may be enough to see the greater compatibility at the application level.
Another aspect to take into account is that the applications, mainly the clients of the video game platforms, must be adapted to work correctly on this possible modified Windows 11 (in Steam it is assumed that the work is done unless there is talk of an integration within the Windows interface itself).
Steam Deck and SteamOS 3, a worthless platform
Valve has popularized an interesting concept with the Steam Deck, but the device, despite using its own operating system, has a major problem: lack of value as a platform.
The company behind Steam has established Proton, a fork of Wine, as the standard way to feed your mini-PC with games, so it’s primarily dedicated to running games compiled for Windows and lacks exclusives.. Consequently, the minimum that Microsoft manages to hit the key will sweep SteamOS, which will force Valve to have to adopt Windows as a system if it does not want to lose weight against other competitors that are already positioning themselves in the market.
We will see how the prototype of Windows 11 oriented to a mini-PC in the form of a hybrid console evolves, and that is counting that in the end it becomes a commercialized product. Despite Microsoft’s irregular track record with the development of its operating system, on paper it has plenty of means to achieve its goal.