Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer imagines a portable Xbox handheld gaming console

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Following the arrival of new handheld gaming consoles like Asus ROG Ally and Lenovo Legion Go, it looks like Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer is pondering the idea of a portable Xbox console. Spencer imagines the device to boot into a compact, full-screen Xbox app with the interface carrying the same vibe as an Xbox dashboard, complete with social features. In short, Spencer wants the Xbox experience translated to the new mobile form factor.

Xbox handheld gaming console

During an interview with Polygon at GDC, Spencer acknowledged that he had been evaluating handheld gaming consoles from an Xbox-oriented perspective. He expressed his desire for his Lenovo Legion Go to have a similar feel to an Xbox, stating, “I have this list of everything that makes it not feel like an Xbox.” He further mentioned a specific issue with Fallout 76, stating that it currently lacks cross-save functionality, which he finds frustrating.

While discussing the ideal portable Xbox, Spencer acknowledged the limitations posed by hardware constraints. He noted that the Xbox team, under the leadership of Roanne Sones, is actively investigating “different form factors” for potential future devices. This exploration aims to expand gaming accessibility to new audiences and situations.

Spencer isn’t solely contemplating hardware solutions. He envisions two possible approaches to providing a genuine Xbox experience on handheld devices: either developing dedicated Xbox portable hardware or enhancing the Xbox software ecosystem on Windows devices such as the Ally and Legion Go.

He expressed admiration for the innovation demonstrated by Valve, Lenovo, and Asus in introducing a new form factor. Spencer noted that when he uses these devices, the experience almost resembles that of a console rather than a PC.

Spencer’s conclusion is that, while he appreciates the innovation from Valve, Lenovo, and Asus, he aims to address the remaining Windows idiosyncrasies that hinder an ideal Xbox experience, such as the ability to log in with a controller.

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