Most game stores suck for handheld gaming PCs; here are your best options

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I love the Asus ROG Ally on paper, but as we steadily approach a year since its launch, I’m becoming less and less optimistic about the state of software support for handheld gaming PCs. While the worst offender is Windows 11 itself, next on that list is the plethora of gaming apps that still feel awful to control on a gamepad.

Some companies are doing far more than others to mitigate these issues, and I’d love to see a push from the game store developers to make the user experience feel akin to a gaming console. I know Phil Spencer from Xbox agrees. Based on the current state of things, here are the biggest game stores for handheld gaming PCs ranked from worst to best. 

5. Epic Games

Epic Games on the Asus ROG Ally is nightmarish. It takes up way too many of the processor’s resources, has constant pop-up notifications that need to be exited out of (which is very difficult to do on a handheld PC), and constantly logs the user out if they quit the application. That final point is especially annoying when trying to avoid unneeded power consumption. Essentially, it does not remotely play nice with a handheld gaming PC.

(Image credit: Momo Tabari / Laptop Mag)

And like every other gaming application of its kind, you’ll have to use Desktop mode to navigate it. Apps like Epic remind me that even if Microsoft implements a handheld operating system to make navigating it less of a pain, major players would need to make massive changes to get it feeling closer to a game console.

4. EA App 

The EA App isn’t great to use on handheld gaming PCs, but it does have one benefit over Epic: Once it’s set up, its Xbox Game Pass-compatible titles can simply be accessed through the Xbox application, effectively consolidating two apps into one spot. Otherwise, it lacks support for gamepad browsing and setting it up was by far the most frustrating of the applications.

handheld gaming device game stores

(Image credit: Momo Tabari / Laptop Mag)

Not even the touchscreen works properly on it, as trying to scroll down through my libraries of games instead emulates a cursor hovering around items on screen. You’ll have no choice but to use Desktop mode with this one, and if you do, that’s also frustrating. It has a jankiness present on a cursor that makes navigating its store and swapping tabs a little finicky, with high sensitivity and a friends tab that keeps popping out accidentally when you just want to move the scrollbar up or down. At the very least, it doesn’t log the user out if you quit the app.

3. is an absolutely frustrating mess to use on the Asus ROG Ally for one reason: Signing in elsewhere immediately signs the user out. Having to constantly re-input credentials on a handheld device, even when you’ve toggled the options to remember your login, has quickly made me stop wanting to use the app.

handheld gaming device game stores

(Image credit: Momo Tabari / Laptop Mag)

Beyond that, there is no method of browsing the application without using the ROG Ally’s Desktop mode. A majority of applications face this problem, so it’s not much of a surprise, but it can make setting things up unwieldy. also doesn’t play super well with external applications launching games through it, as I’ve had multiple instances of trying to launch WoW through Playnite and it not working initially.

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