Phil Spencer teases Xbox Gaming Handheld, it'll be dedicated hardware not cloud-based

The Xbox Gaming Handheld will be like the Steam Deck or ROG Ally, with Phil Spencer saying 'being able to play games locally is really important.'

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Although Microsoft Gaming chief Phil Spencer didn't outright come out and confirm that he and the Xbox team were developing an Xbox Gaming Handheld, he outlined what to expect from a potential portable Xbox device. One that we have to assume is in development.

Phil Spencer teases Xbox Gaming Handheld, it'll be dedicated hardware not cloud-based 02

"The future for us in hardware is pretty awesome," Spencer told IGN during a live interview following the company's big Xbox Game Showcase. "The work that the team is doing around different form factors, different ways to play, I'm incredibly excited about. Today was about the games, but we will have a time to come out and talk more about platform, and we can't wait to bring it to you."

When grilled for more information on what an Xbox "different form factor" handheld might look like, Phil Spencer stated that "being able to play games locally is really important," which means it will be more like the Steam Deck or ROG Ally than Sony's network-based PlayStation Portal.

Several rumors point to an Xbox handheld, and Phil previously stated to Polygon that it would need to feel like an Xbox - that is, deliver a seamless console-like gaming experience. The odds are that we'll hear about it soon enough.

Our best guess is that it will be a Windows 11-based device as all Xbox first-party titles are playable on the OS, alongside PC Game Pass offering a vast library of titles to download and play. The big hurdle would be optimizing the Xbox app for a gaming handheld, offering quick access to the system and Xbox features without switching to a desktop mode or traditional PC interface.

Regarding hardware, AMD Ryzen with integrated Radeon graphics is currently killing it in the handheld space. The odds are that Microsoft is already engaging with Team Red to develop a custom Xbox Gaming Handheld chip.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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