A new project leak from a Microsoft Hackathon internal event details the building blocks of a custom Windows 11 UI built specifically for the Steam Deck.
It’s completely experimental at the moment, seeing as Hackathon projects are exclusively internal events where employees come together and work on various ideas and concepts outside of their regular designations. Meaning, the project has a 50/50 chance of becoming a realised product. So, best take the following information with a grain of salt.
Nonetheless, an internal two-minute proof-of-concept video was revealed by @_h0x0d_ via Twitter. The un-named narrator goes on to explain how even though Windows 11 can run on the SteamOS-powered, Linux-based device, its uses has been limited due to it not being optimised for navigating via small touch screens and controllers.
The solutions brought forward include; a Windows-specific launcher similar to Steam’s launcher that would provide a dedicated Windows 11 interface for all Windows games and apps, a floating task bar and search bar/system tray concept designed for easy navigation, and of course, optimised controller support and improved touch points and visibility for touch screens.
Theoretically, this is not only limited to Valve’s portable Steam machine because since the Steam Deck’s arrival there has been a surge in popularity for custom handheld devices, and these portable gaming computers usually come kitted with Windows 11 pre-installed.
Therefore, it makes complete sense why Microsoft would seek to optimise its OS with handheld controls and small touch displays in mind. Needless to say, such a move could greatly benefit the rapidly growing portable gaming market.