AYANEO NEXT LITE changes its mind - Windows 11 instead of Linux

AYANEO NEXT LITE changes its mind - Windows 11 instead of Linux

The AYANEO NEXT LITE, a new gaming handheld that claims to run high-end games on a portable device, has made a surprising change of plans regarding its operating system. Instead of shipping with a modified version of SteamOS (HoloISO), as it was originally announced, the device will now come with Windows 11 pre-installed.

The AYANEO team explained their decision in a statement posted on X (Twitter), saying that they received feedback from players who preferred Windows over Linux for gaming. Here's the relevant bit:

Following the announcement of the operating system for AYANEO NEXT LITE, players and friends have shown great interest and engaged in lively discussions. Some players provided feedback indicating the continued preference for a Windows operating system. "Real Gamers, Know Gamers," and in response to this valuable feedback, we are pleased to announce that AYANEO NEXT LITE will come pre-installed with the genuine Windows 11 64-bit Home Edition operating system. Of course, players can still choose to install HoloISO on their own. AYANEO's official website provides HoloISO system images that are officially adapted and compatible for players to download and experience. The streamlined and efficient HololSO system aims to offer players a more convenient game management, smooth and stable gaming performance, lower overall power consumption, and native compatibility with both controllers and touchscreen operations. This approach aligns with the gaming habits of handheld device users, providing players with a richer selection of operating systems.

They also added a pretty controversial slogan: “Real Gamers, Know Gamers”, implying that Windows is the better choice for serious gamers.

The updated teaser on their home page

However, the AYANEO team did not completely abandon Linux, as they will still provide HoloISO, a Linux distribution that is similar to SteamOS, as an optional download for users who want to try it. HoloISO is designed to offer a smooth and stable gaming experience, with lower power consumption and native support for controllers and touchscreen. The AYANEO team said that HoloISO aligns with the gaming habits of handheld device users, and that it gives them a richer selection of operating systems.

A disappointing change of plans

The change of operating system has sparked mixed reactions from the gaming community, especially those who support Linux as a viable alternative to Windows for gaming.

Here at Wirekat we've even covered this device as a small milestone for Linux. We love Linux, so it truly is a shame.

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Those who played on previous Ayaneo devices know how clumsy and invasive playing games on Windows can be compared to SteamOS, which already has over 15 000 games and more.

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Some Linux fans hoped that the AYANEO NEXT LITE would be another device that would showcase the potential of Linux gaming, and that it would help to attract more developers and users to the Linux ecosystem. However, the AYANEO team seems to have decided that Windows 11 is a safer and more popular option, and that Linux is still a niche market that requires more effort and support.

What do you think of the AYANEO NEXT LITE’s decision to switch to Windows 11? Are you interested in buying the device, or would you rather go for the Steam Deck?