Microsoft: No plans for dedicated handheld game console

Both Nintendo and Sony have released dedicated portable games consoles but Microsoft's recently promoted Xbox head, Phil Spencer, indicated late on Sunday that the company has no plans to compete in that space.

In response to a fan question on Twitter asking Spencer if if there was a chance for an Xbox handheld device in the future, Spencer replied that he didn't believe that the company would release such a product. Instead, Spencer indicated they plan to focus on portable gaming on Windows Phone and tablets, "maybe with controller support someday."

There have been rumors for nearly two years that Microsoft has been working on a seven inch version of its Surface tablet that would be dedicated to gaming and even had the "Xbox" brand name. However, none of those reports have been confirmed by Microsoft. Spencer's new statement would seem to indicate that if Microsoft did have plans for an Xbox Surface tablet, they may have been put on indefinite hold.

Source: Phil Spencer on Twitter | Image via Microsoft

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Good move. No need for a dedicated handheld game console. With the rise of Xbox on phones and tablets. They already have tons of different handhelds :)

They need an AppleTV style competitor ... all the TV/Movie/Music/Video features of the Xbox One, without the game muscle, in a very small, $99 package.

Both it AND the Xbox One should be able to access music and videos from any "Libraries" of connected PCs ("HomeGroup" and/or connected via Microsoft ID), as well as access from Xbox Music and Xbox Video. And of course, both should be able to run Win 8 apps like Hulu+ and Netflix, Last.fm and Pandora, etc. And neither should require an Xbox Live Gold subscription to do so.

The XboxTV ($99 non-game console) should also be able to have an optional connection to a Kinect 2.0 sensor to add gesture controls and voice commands (for another $99).

If they did all that, they'd have a real winner.

With the way they're making it easy to have "universal" apps/games between WP, Windows and soon Xbox One, they basically have any number of "handhelds" for you to pick from and play games on, the only sticky point here is that they really need to make it super easy to add XBL support to games. So far it's a pain on WP and Windows Store so few developers bother with it, this needs to change ASAP.

Really not needed. Stick with WP games and go from there.

I have not had a need for a dedicated hand held gaming system for years. If I want to play games, I hook my phone/tablet to my big screen, get a BT controller, and play thousands of ROM emulated games. Old classics..Atari, Sega, Nintendo.....

Both the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 have iGPUs (integrated GPUs), and they both already support the Xbox 360 controller too (with the Pro being able to use any game pad since it's a full PC). What they don't have is a dGPU (discrete GPU).

Indeed, it works quite well. Now we just need controller support on WP8 phones. Most of them support USB host if I'm not mistaken, so it should be possible.
Dedicated handhelds are going nowhere fast, so this should be the way to go forward if MS wants a more core type of mobile gaming support.

siah1214 said,
Love playing games on my surface rt hooked up to a 360 controller and a hotel TV.

If consoles were just more portable... you'd think that would be a little more practical. I say this as I thought about the possibilities of playing as you are, except with big games like Dark Souls II or something.

If only...