Xbox Boss Says Microsoft Has Experimented With Handhelds

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer joins a fan for a selfie. Credit: Microsoft

But Phil Spencer, and the new console the Scorpio, are firmly focussed on your television

But Phil Spencer, and the new console the Scorpio, are firmly focussed on your television

Microsoft is just starting to talk in detail about its new console, the Xbox Scorpio. So far we've had a rundown of its technical specifications and reactions from developers, and now head of Xbox Phil Spencer has revealed more about the prototyping process that led to the development of Scorpio. Interestingly, there was a possibility of a handheld Xbox. 

"Well, let me say that the amount of times we've designed, roughly designed, an Xbox handheld, or a cheap Xbox kind of stick that you could plug in and stream from an Xbox in the home, or play low-powered games," Spencer tells Gamasutra in his extensive interview. "We are always thinking and brainstorming on different scenarios of where the console could go. Or the gaming experience, I guess, more specifically, could go."

Spencer uses his two young daughters and communal play as an example of why the television is still key to Microsoft's plans for Xbox, calling that experience "magical." 

Unlike Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft have never released a handheld gaming device, sticking only with TV-based consoles. It has tried to tie gaming experience to existing tablets in the past with SmartGlass, which allowed you to control your Xbox 360 with a tablet or phone. In theory this included support for games like Madden NFL, Halo 4 and the ultimately doomed Fable Legends. The SmartGlass brand was killed in June last year. 

In the interview Spencer also reaffirms that virtual reality will be possible on the Scorpio, but doesn't reveal precisely how, and that you won't see any Scorpio only titles from developers. "We have millions of customers that have made a commitment to the Xbox One generation and I want to make sure if you bought the original Xbox One – and frankly, developers want to support the largest install base of consoles that are out there, so from a financial standpoint they totally see it."

You can check the interview out in full here.