Microsoft is holding back its new Surface Pro tablet, inadvertently capping its success with a glass ceiling. Why? By leaving gamers out in the cold.
The Microsoft Surface Pro isn’t a gaming device. But actually, it is. Quite convincingly, too.
From the outset, Microsoft’s latest tablet is marketed as the perfect business tablet for professionals.
Powered by an Intel i5 processor, the Pro includes a 128GB SSD and packs the no-holds-barred edition of Windows 8, which offers the full Office package, and can even run full applications like Adobe Photoshop.
But let’s take a look at those specs again — an Intel i5 processor, SSD storage, 4GB RAM and a resolution of up to 1920×1080.
Sound familiar? That’s because anyone remotely knowledgable of the innards of current-gen gaming setups will recognise these specifications as the requirements for many current triple-A PC titles.
The specs also closely mirror those of Razer’s recently announced Edge tablet, which itself is promoted as "the first tablet for gamers".
Pursuing the notion that the Surface Pro is potentially a gaming device, Forbes recently put the tablet to the test with a number of the PCs most popular titles in order to see how they performed.
Diablo III? High specs at 1,920×1080 resolution.
League of Legends? High specs at 1,920×1080 resolution.
The list continues with other big name PC titles, such as Portal 2, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, StarCraft II and Civilization V.
Put into practice, the Surface Pro is a more-than-capable gaming device.
Obviously, there are drawbacks. 128GB of SSD storage is speedy, but not nearly enough to handle more than a handful of PC titles.
As beautiful as the Pro’s display may be, the idea of playing some of the above titles on a touch display would be a nightmare – however, Forbes’ Jason Evangelho over came this issue with a wireless mouse and the Surface’s own touch keyboard.
And of course, as impressive as these titles are, they’re all current gen. For such a high price tag, the Surface Pro would certainly lack the longevity of rival gaming devices or traditional PC rig, and a number of gamers could potentially be put off by the most feared words in the gaming dictionary: Integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics.
But with all of this in mind, the Surface remains a formidable gaming device. So why isn’t Microsoft advertising it as such?
If the firm really wants the Surface to take off, it needs to downplay the device’s comparisons to the iPad and other media-focused tablets, and emphasise its ability to play current triple-A games seamlessly.