Windows 10 S And The Surface Laptop Are Bad News For Gamers – Forbes

The Surface Laptop may be a MacBook killer but it's not a good choice for gamers.

Credit: Microsoft

The Surface Laptop may be a MacBook killer but it’s not a good choice for gamers.

The Surface Laptop debuted Tuesday to much fanfare and Apple comparison pieces. It’s Microsoft’s answer to the MacBook, and if you care at all about playing games on your PC, it’s decidedly not for you.

Windows 10 S wants to take the steam out of Steam.

The primary reason the Surface Laptop is bad for gamers is the fact that it’s the flagship device for Windows 10 S. Microsoft’s newest operating system abandons all pretense of openness in favor of a closed ecosystem. On Windows 10 S computers, only apps from Microsoft’s app store will run. All other software is closed out of this new walled garden. Microsoft isn’t just taking aim at the MacBook line with the Surface Laptop, it’s taking a page from Apple’s App Store success.

Notably absent from the Microsoft Store? Steam, the number one destination for PC gamers. This is where almost every PC gamer goes to buy and play games (though Mac and Linux users can also use Steam.) Also missing from the Microsoft Store are EA’s Origin, GOG Galaxy and Ubisoft’s Uplay. Basically all the non-Microsoft video game storefronts have zero presence on Windows 10 S. Unless Valve and the rest of these game companies decide to give Microsoft a cut of all their profits, they won’t be offering versions of their services any time soon, either.

The Surface Laptop is not a good option for gaming.

Beyond the travesty of an operating system, the Surface Laptop itself is simply not a great choice for gaming, even if you only want to play games you can find on the Microsoft Store. For $999 you can find plenty of other laptops with better graphical oomph.

The base Surface Laptop has an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD hard drive and an Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics processor. The top model increases the hard drive to 512 GB, the RAM to 16 GB, boasts an i7 processor and an HD Graphics 640 GPU. This is a fine configuration for day-to-day computing, doing homework, and so forth, but it’s simply blown out of the water by anything with an Nvidia chip in it. You can find a perfectly decent gaming laptop for around $1,000 with a much better GPU.

Then again, the Surface Laptop was never geared toward gamers. It’s geared toward Apple customers who’ve had terrible support for games for years now. It’s also being marketed toward students, many of whom may not care about games. Then again, many students might.

What worries me more than the attractive-but-lackluster Surface Laptop is the potential encroachment of Windows 10 S and its closed garden operating system into our day-to-day lives. I don’t mind Windows in general; I’ve never really hopped on the Linux train (for long.) But Microsoft as the conduit for all things PC gaming is a ghastly proposition, and a future that no gamer should look forward to.

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