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.
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.»
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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Xbox boss Phil Spencer has addressed lingering questions around the company stance on physical media following last year's leaks of an «adorably all-digital» Xbox Series X refresh, saying Microsoft continues to be «supportive» of the medium, and insisting «getting rid of physical, that's not a strategic thing for us.»
Last year, an all-digital Xbox Series X leaked via FTC court documents, which many fans worried was another hint towards an all-digital future. It's a concerning precedent because the Xbox 360 digital storefront is shutting down in July, meaning that physical media is the only way to get games for the platform going forward. If something similar happened to an all-digital generation down the line, it'd be a huge blow to preservation.
In case you missed it, Xbox's top dogs set live a podcast yesterday, publicly announcing the company's long-rumoured intention to bring a selection of first-party games to rival consoles. After so much noise around the subject, it hardly came as a surprise, but it's still a noteworthy shift in how the platform holder will handle its in-house titles going forward. While the messaging was kept fairly vague, we can get a touch more context from a company memo, sent from Phil Spencer to staff before the podcast's debut. It's now available to read in its entirety online.
Xbox Cloud Gaming should start allowing users to stream their own games sometime in 2024, according to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. Streaming enthusiasts have been waiting for this feature to be added to the Xbox service since its earliest days, back when it was still called xCloud.
Many people are still trying to process everything that happened during Xbox’s “Business Update” that transpired yesterday. This is because the whole presentation read as nothing more than “this could’ve been an email,” as nothing truly significant was revealed. The only “big pieces of news” were that Microsoft would bring four titles that had been out for a while to other platforms and that Microsoft was already working on their next-gen console to follow the Xbox Series X/S. But now, a separate interview from Xbox’s Phil Spencer has further shed light on what he feels is “best for business” from both Xbox and beyond…and it’s really telling.
As Microsoft opts to launch at least some of its Xbox exclusives on rival consoles, the company's gaming boss Phil Spencer has reflected on Sony's recent, hugely-successful launch of online, cross-platform shooter Helldivers 2 on PC and PlayStation 5.
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