- Social media activity from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has fueled rumors of an Xbox handheld console.
- Even if such a device exists, it’s unlikely to be confirmed in the foreseeable future, as recent reports indicated it’s meant to be part of the 10th-gen Xbox lineup that Microsoft itself previously said won’t be coming before 2028.
- The February 2024 wave of rumors pointing to an Xbox handheld indicated that the console could be a hybrid offering, similar to the Nintendo Switch.
Some recent social media activity from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has stoked the ongoing rumors that an Xbox handheld console is in the works. The existence of the device has been alleged by several sources throughout February, at the height of the drama surrounding the possibility of some first-party Xbox games going multi-platform.
The first such rumor originated from a recent episode of the Xbox News Cast Podcast, where co-host MAGG suggested that the next generation of Microsoft’s gaming hardware will (once again) comprise two devices, a traditional console and a portable one. Although this source doesn’t have a substantial track record of accurate leaks to speak of, Nick Baker, a much more established industry insider, subsequently echoed similar rumblings, while also mentioning that the next-gen Xbox console project has been reassigned to the Surface team.
Rumor: Microsoft Held Internal Meeting Over Xbox Console Future
Microsoft reportedly reflects on the future of its gaming consoles in a company-wide meeting following rumors of Xbox games going multi-platform.
Phil Spencer Likes the Idea of Microsoft ‘Stepping In’ With an Xbox Handheld Console
Regardless of the veracity of these claims, Phil Spencer himself recently stoked the rumor mill by liking two tweets stemming from that speculation. The latest one of those was a February 13 call for Microsoft to “step in” with a handheld gaming PC from The Verge’s Tom Warren. The first one was a February 2 prediction from Windows Central’s Jez Corden labeling a portable Xbox console as “inevitable.”
Xbox Handheld Console Rumors Are Unlikely to See Official Resolution Anytime Soon
Even if Microsoft were indeed working on a handheld device, the likelihood of it being confirmed—never mind unveiled—in the foreseeable future appears unlikely. According to some court documents unsealed in September 2023, the next generation of Xbox hardware was previously targeting a 2028 release. Talking about a device four years away would be highly uncharacteristic for Microsoft.
Furthermore, if the report that the Surface team has recently taken over development of the next-gen Xbox console is accurate, it’s plausible that the project’s timeline got extended, pushing the hardware even further away from the market than it was in 2023. Another indication that the 10th-generation hardware could have suffered an internal delay was recently shared by established leaker Moore’s Law is Dead, who claimed that the next Xbox would lag behind the PS6’s market release after a stall in Microsoft’s contract negotiations with AMD over the upcoming system’s custom system-on-chip.
Recent reports on the rumored device suggested that the handheld could actually be a hybrid offering that’s both portable and dockable, not unlike the Nintendo Switch. Game Rant’s December 2023 review of Microsoft’s patent activity revealed that Xbox has been exploring the idea of Switch-style controllers, albeit ones that are meant to be platform-agnostic instead of paired with any particular type of hardware.
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