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Insider claims Xbox is prototyping 'fully native' handheld console

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With devices like Valve's Steam Deck selling well, and major PC makers launching Windows 11-based portable gaming PCs this year like the ASUS Rog Ally and the Lenovo Legion Go, many people are wondering if Microsoft would launch its own similar device. Recent rumors suggest that the company may be working on a native handheld gaming device.

Microsoft's goal is to expand the Xbox ecosystem beyond traditional home consoles. According to Xbox insider Jez Corden, the tech giant currently has internal prototypes for a "fully native" handheld device that does not rely on cloud gaming.

While prototypes don't guarantee a commercial product, pursuing a handheld makes strategic sense for Xbox. The Nintendo Switch has massively expanded the handheld market since 2017, selling more than 100 million units. Meanwhile, the Valve Steam Deck and other PC handhelds like the Aya Neo are showing consumer demand.

Phil Spencer, CEO of Xbox and Microsoft Gaming, hinted that Xbox's next projects will be "unique and powerful". Microsoft Xbox President Sarah Bond also implied at new hardware announcements this holiday season and an ambitious new console generation in the works.

In September, The Verge reported on a handheld Xbox cloud gaming device. "Microsoft has developed a lightweight version of the Xbox user interface that can run on handheld devices, dedicated cloud consoles, and TVs," the report said.

The article didn't offer any details on when this Xbox cloud gaming handheld was in development, nor when the company decided to end the project. So, Microsoft may have given up on its cloud-based handheld plans.

If developed, an Xbox handheld would likely run its games natively without streaming limitations, rather than relying on cloud gaming like the recently rumored products. It will allow gaming on the go. Whether this business plan will be accepted by PC gamers remains to be seen.

Source: Xbox Two podcast via Insider Gaming

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