This is the magnetic Xbox controller for Surface Duo Microsoft should've made

Surface Duo Controller Xbox
Surface Duo Controller Xbox (Image credit: @to_be_from)

When Microsoft debuted the Surface Duo, they did so with a tease of how it would (or rather, could) work with Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming, Project xCloud. The Duo would display gameplay on the top screen, and turn the lower display into a virtual gamepad. However, that functionality never actually materialized, for some reason.

Even so, playing games with touch controls not designed for touch controls is always going to be an awkward experience, at least without some serious practice. So far, the most popular solution is to grab one of the best Xbox One controller phone mount clips and awkwardly snap your phone onto your controller. It's ugly, inconvenient, but hey, it works. A far superior solution is to use the Razer Kishi (opens in new tab), which effectively turns your phone into a mini Nintendo Switch.

What if there was a better solution though?


Industrious reddit user /u/Thetincat1 (@To_Be_From) built his own controller for the Surface Duo, which magnetizes to the base in a similar way to the unreleased Surface Neo's keyboard. Thetincat1 used the internals of an 8-bitdo lite controller (opens in new tab), and 3D printed a new shell with magnets.

Controller I've been working on. I made it to work with my Duo and Snap to it magnetically. It's using the circuit board of a 8-bitdo lite controller, then I designed and 3d printed the enclosure and buttons. So it has that nice clicky feel!It attaches to the back of the device if I'm not using it, so you can still carry the phone and controller around when your not playing anything.

Perhaps we'll see better solutions from Microsoft itself some day to make xCloud a little bit more ergonomic, especially since /u/Thetincat1 has effectively shown Microsoft the way forward for free.

What do you think? Hit the comments, let us know!

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Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • You make it sound like the duo has been out for ages... Give it time and it probably will happen. Microsoft must focus on the basics first
  • That looks a little cumbersome to use
  • It would be nice for Microsoft to clarify their plans to support the controller features on the Duo as well. Would be cool if the Razer Kishi worked on the bottom screen and the other was the game. Second screen might even be able to integrate game play i. e. inventory. Not sure enough people own the Duo to make it worth it
  • It's not their focus for the device, when they have ironed out the wrinkles and sorted out the essentials, then they will look into the additional perks. The device is only a few weeks old on the market, still time to grow, and its first major update is coming in October.
  • This looks pretty awkward, inconvenient and ugly too honestly.
  • Looks fine to me!
  • Same for me. Also, liked the creativity thought process
  • One big question I have is does the surface Duo have magnet point for the surface pen?
  • Yes, although it is mainly for holding the device shut, it just happens to also be strong enough to hold the Slim Pen on the back of the device too.
  • Why even use that? It doesn't have analog sticks and it's big enough that you might as well just use the actual Xbox controller and just have the phone on a table and tent mode or in laptop mode. Or maybe they will make a phone clip that accommodates that phone. Either way that controller looks absolutely pointless mainly because of lack of analog sticks.
  • It's not nearly as big as a normal controller. It's very thin and sticks to the device magnetically when you're not using it. It's not going to be as satisfying as a normal controller but it's way more convenient. It's something you could carry in your pocket. I think that you're missing the point on purpose.
  • Did you even read the article?
  • I suspect that Microsoft will look at something like this at some point in the future but, given that they have stated their initial focus on productivity for the Duo, creating a controller like this would directly contradict that. The second or third generation might see more focus on consumer-oriented features and a first-party controller like this might become a reality. I'd expect that a built-in virtual controller might be considered more important though.
  • This is spot on. A controller with a device to target an Enterprise demographic and IT would not quite fit the message for this 1st Gen product.
  • One concern I would have with a device like this is the material used on the underside and whether it might scratch the screen with prolonged use. The Neo keyboard is in somewhat the same boat but I would expect that there would be more movement between a game controller and the screen than a keyboard and the screen as people would likely be more vigorous with it. Even with the magnets, something with some natural stickiness might be beneficial to stop the controller sliding too much, but that would be liable to deteriorate over time. That might also be more inclined to hold grit that could grind your screen. It's something that would require significant thought and testing to get right, which might at least partly explain why it hasn't happened yet.
  • Xbox Duo.
    It will be a consumption device, not a productivity device. An Xbox, not a Surface. It will be okay to have needed thickness.
    Put in a 6,000mAh battery, NFC, Qi, expandable storage, reverse wireless charging, 4 Atmos speakers, a pen silo, 5 cameras, LiDAR, waterproof, AND A HEADPHONE JACK.
    Put bumpers and triggers on the hinges, and analog touch pads (like the Steam Controller had) and buttons on the bottom. Maybe this could be a case. (So you can play & watch a video without needing to carry a controller with you.)
    When Samsung comes out with the Fold3 and Note30 Ultra++, Phil Spencer just lets out a slight chuckle.
    It will still run Android. It will still make phone calls. The ultimate single pocketable device that does everything.
    Bonus: Run Windows 10 with virtualized Android apps.