Xbox: Phil Spencer talks about a portable console, but he has more questions than answers

Mallory Delicourt

April 2, 2024 at 3:27 p.m.


© vfhnb12 / Shutterstock

© vfhnb12 / Shutterstock

Xbox seems more open than ever to the idea of ​​developing a portable console. However, Phil Spencer suggests that there is no rush and that a large number of questions must first be answered.

The king of portable consoles is undoubtedly Nintendo, which has gone so far as to make its main machine a hybrid console. Sony tried to establish itself in the market with the PSP and then the PS Vita, but does not currently operate a portable machine. That leaves Microsoft Xbox which, despite its two solid decades in the video game market, has not yet taken the plunge.

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Find the right formula before trying anything

Since 2021, rumors have suggested that Microsoft’s Xbox division would be working on a portable console, partially or totally dedicated to cloud gaming. A rumor confirmed half-heartedly by Phil Spencer, video game bigwig at Microsoft. In a recent interview with Polygon, the person said that, for the moment, Microsoft has not yet found the right approach to provide a product that would be of interest to users. The latter still asks himself many questions, partly linked to his own use of machines such as Steam Deck or the Asus Rogue Ally. According to him, the right angle is to be found on the software side:

I want to be able to launch the Xbox app in full screen, but in compact mode. And all my social experience is there. I want to feel like I’m on my Xbox home screen when I turn on the TV. »

Phil Spencer also thinks that Xbox has every interest in being as accessible as possible, and not locking players into a proprietary ecosystem. He doesn’t want the public to be forced to buy a single handheld console. While continuing to offer machines designed in-house, Xbox clearly wants to allow its audience to play Xbox games, regardless of the medium they use. For this to take shape, various questions must be answered such as:

Are all my games there, are all my games showing up with my game saves? […] »

The user experience is therefore at the center of the thinking at Xbox, with the ambition above all to offer an interface and functionalities which allow access to Xbox everywhere in the same way. We could therefore soon see the launch of a specific version of Windows dedicated to the various portable machines available on the market.

Microsoft is now in possession of a mountain of cult franchises © Microsoft

Microsoft is now in possession of a mountain of cult franchises © Microsoft

R&D already underway

This interview also shows that Phil Spencer is not at all closed to the idea of ​​developing a portable console, and even admits that engineers are working on it, approaching the subject from different angles. The team would think about different shapes and things that such a device could offer. Regardless, the goal is still to attract new players and retain them. For this, but also to keep the players already present, Xbox has therefore launched numerous avenues of reflection. In other words, the idea of ​​an Xbox console is completely real, but it’s not for tomorrow.

In the case of game creators, the problem arises differently. The latter currently have to deal with a multitude of configurations, and it is not easy to offer an optimized version on increasingly numerous media. By starting with harmonizing the Xbox experience, Microsoft intends to reduce the friction that exists. All this obviously brings to mind the Steam Deck, for which many games have been certified and optimized.

Source : Polygon

Microsoft Xbox Series

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release date: 10-11-2020

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