HomeWinBuzzer NewsPhil Spencer Reveals Interest in Xbox-Branded Handheld Devices

Phil Spencer Reveals Interest in Xbox-Branded Handheld Devices

Microsoft's Xbox chief hints at a handheld Xbox device. This would combine console power with portability, potentially changing how gamers play.


Microsoft’s gaming division, led by Phil Spencer, has disclosed its ongoing contemplation regarding the development of a handheld Xbox device. In a detailed interview with Polygon, Spencer, during last week’s Game Developers Conference 2024, shared insights into his vision for Xbox’s expansion into the handheld gaming market.

Spencer’s comments come following reports earlier in the week about Microsoft’s ongoing interest in handheld gaming. The initiative aims to blend the console experience with the mobility and convenience of handheld devices, potentially revolutionizing how and where gamers engage with Xbox content.

“I want my Lenovo Legion Go to feel like an Xbox,” Spencer told Polygon in an interview during the annual Game Developers Conference. “I brought [the Legion Go] with me to GDC. I’m on the airplane and I have this list of everything that makes it not feel like an Xbox. Forget about the brand. More like: Are all of my games there?”

Hardware and Software Synergy

The concept of a handheld Xbox encompasses both hardware and software dimensions. Spencer’s experience with recent PC gaming handhelds, such as the Asus ROG Ally, the Lenovo Legion Go, and the Valve Corporation’s Steam Deck, has sparked the idea of integrating Xbox’s unique gaming ecosystem into these portable formats.

Despite the impressive performance of these devices, Spencer notes a distinct lack of the Xbox essence, particularly in aspects like game availability, cross-save features, and the overall user interface, which he believes could be more aligned with Xbox’s dashboard.

“Do all my games show up with the save [files] that I want? I’ll tell you one [game] that doesn’t right now — it’s driving me crazy — is Fallout 76.” Spencer is eager to make an ecosystem on handheld that can integrate all aspects of the Xbox platform. “It doesn’t have cross-save. I want to be able to boot into the Xbox app in a full screen, but in a compact mode. And all of my social [experience] is there. Like I want it to feel like the dash of my Xbox when I turn on the television. [Except I want it] on those devices.”

The Xbox hardware team, under Roanne Sones, is reportedly exploring various hardware form factors to potentially introduce a device that encapsulates the Xbox gaming experience in a handheld format. However, Spencer also acknowledges the importance of software solutions that enhance the gaming experience on non-Xbox branded devices, especially those running Windows. This dual approach aims to cater to a broad spectrum of gamers, ensuring that even those who opt for alternative brands can enjoy a seamless Xbox experience.

A Vision for Universal Gaming

Spencer’s vision extends beyond mere hardware innovation; it encompasses a holistic approach to gaming that reduces friction for players and developers alike. By enabling a unified gaming experience across multiple devices, Microsoft aims to simplify the process for game creators, who would only need to develop a single version of their game for it to be accessible across various platforms. This strategy not only benefits developers but also enhances the gaming experience for users, who would have the freedom to choose their preferred gaming hardware without compromising on quality or accessibility.

As the gaming industry continues to evolve, Microsoft’s exploration of handheld Xbox devices signifies a potential shift towards more versatile and accessible gaming solutions. While no official announcement has been made regarding the development of such a device, Spencer’s comments suggest a strong interest in bringing Xbox’s gaming prowess to the handheld market. This move could mark a significant milestone in the industry, blending the immersive experience of console gaming with the flexibility and convenience of handheld devices.

Last Updated on March 28, 2024 3:22 pm CET by Luke Jones

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.