Microsoft Is Indeed Working On An Xbox Handheld With Local Play Functionality

Shortly after the Xbox Showcase, where the company unveiled updated Xbox Series S and X consoles featuring increased storage options and new color schemes, Xbox Chief Phil Spencer was interviewed by IGN. During the interview, they inquired about the rumors of an Xbox gaming handheld.

Microsoft’s Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, has been suggesting the possibility of an Xbox handheld for several months. Earlier this year, Spencer conveyed his enthusiasm for handhelds, signaling a rising interest within Microsoft. In a recent interview with IGN, he made his clearest statement yet, saying, “I think we should have a handheld, too.”

Spencer had previously expressed his fondness for his ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion, and Steam Deck, all independent gaming handhelds running either Windows or SteamOS. However, the major drawback of Windows-based handhelds remains the operating system itself, which is not intuitive and complicates the use of multiple storefronts and launchers.

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However, Spencer stressed the importance of being able to play locally on such a device. This suggests that whatever Xbox is developing, it is not merely a streaming device like the PlayStation Portal, which connects to the PS5 console and streams games.

The ideal device would enable gamers to play both Xbox and Microsoft Windows games, including those available on Steam. Achieving this would necessitate a substantial revamp of the gaming aspect of the Windows system, which may appear complex. While Microsoft’s current focus is on Copilot integration, the constant release of new gaming handhelds will drive consumer expectations for Microsoft to take action. Otherwise, communities might begin creating their own solutions.

Spencer neither confirmed nor denied the development of a gaming handheld, noting that the recent Showcase focused solely on games, despite the introduction of updated Series S/X consoles. He stated, “Today was about the games… but we will have a time to come out and talk more about the platform.” Hopefully, this implies that we will learn more about Microsoft’s plans for battery-powered systems in the future.