At one point in time, Microsoft was considering to release an Xbox handheld that would allow consumers to play their favorite games on the go.
In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Xbox boss Phil Spencer stated that Microsoft was “always thinking and brainstorming” ideas to take the experience of consoles in different directions. While Microsoft did succeed in creating a “roughly designed” Xbox handheld, reasons forced the company to scrap the product altogether.
Let me say that the amount of times we’ve designed, roughly designed, an Xbox handheld, or a cheap Xbox kind of stick that you could plug in and stream from an Xbox in the home, or play low-powered games… we are always thinking and brainstorming on different scenarios of where the console could go. Or [where] the gaming experience, I guess, more specifically, could go.
Perhaps the motivation was fueled by its competitors; both Sony and Nintendo have enjoyed a strong history of their families of handheld devices. It only makes sense for Microsoft to try its hand as well.
As for why Microsoft decided to not follow through, Spencer revealed that he “still believes in the power of a television.” Playing on a home console is not only something we have all accepted, but it is something that Microsoft is committed to “in the long run.”
That being said, evolution cannot be stopped. The console-era will turn a new direction some day, much like how Nintendo has done with the Switch.
Nintendo, I thought, did a cool thing with picking mobile. They kind of said okay, Switch is going to be a console that you can take with you. That’s an interesting idea. Nintendo always does cool things, right. They did the second screen with Wii U, they obviously did the Wii and motion gaming in the room. I love that innovation.
Microsoft is currently gearing up to launch Project Scorpio this fall. The new console is an upgrade for the Xbox One model, featuring support for 4K resolutions and greater performance metrics.