An Xbox handheld could be coming to rival PlayStation Portal and Steam Deck

Phil Spencer: "We’re learning from what Nintendo has done over the years with Switch"

Phil Spencer on AI-generated future cityscape background
(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)
Quick Summary

Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that he's a big fan of handheld consoles when discussing possible new hardware from the brand.

He even referenced the Nintendo Switch as something the company is learning from.

Xbox has hit the headlines a lot of late, with its future very much under the spotlight. However, a podcast released last week settled the nerves for a fair few fans and Xbox console owners.

There was even talk of a new Xbox console (which we're calling Xbox Next for now). We might even see new hardware this year.

But, what that might look like is up for debate, and one rumour that's been circulating recently is that the gaming arm of Microsoft might even be looking at the handheld market very closely. Some industry experts, such as Windows Central's Jez Corden, have even suggested that an Xbox handheld (the Xbox Series P or Series H, as some have called it) is in the works.

Now a new interview with the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has poured further fuel onto the fire. He has revealed to Tom Warren at The Verge that not only is he a fan of the form factor, the company could learn a few lessons from Nintendo and the success of the Switch.

"What keeps people from playing certain hours? Well, there’s some sleep, school, and kind of normal life, but some of it is just access," he explained.

"Do I have access to the games that I want to play right now? Obviously, we’re kind of learning from what Nintendo has done over the years with Switch, they’ve been fantastic with that.

"So, when I look at Steam Deck and the ROG and my Legion Go, I’m a big fan of that space."

However, Spencer didn't quite confirm that a handheld is in development.

"I’m a big fan, but nothing to announce."

What makes it more intriguing is that the Xbox boss did hint that future hardware would be "unique".

I" will say I’m very proud of the work that the hardware team is doing, not only for this year, but also into the future.

"[We’re] really thinking about creating hardware that sells to gamers because of the unique aspects of the hardware."

So, is an Xbox handheld possible?

While Spencer cites the Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck and other PC handhelds, he must surely also have one eye on the performance of the PlayStation Portal. Sony's remote play device goes back out of stock as quickly as it manages to get units onto shelves.

And considering that device only connects to a home PS5, just think what Xbox could do with Game Pass on a portable machine. It wouldn't even need to offer remote play for Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S – everything could be streamed over the cloud.

It's certainly in a great position software-wise to launch a handheld, so we feel it's not beyond the realms of possibility that we'll see an Xbox Series P sometime in the near(ish) future.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.