A new insider report claims that Microsoft has developed a prototype for a portable Xbox cloud gaming device in the past. That’s not that unlikely. The only question is – where is the device?
Great interest in mobile cloud gaming
Without question, devices like the Steam Deck from Valve or the Asus Rog Ally are selling well and interest in Sony’s planned PlayStation Portal is already huge. The question of where Microsoft is with its own gaming handheld is therefore justified.
Now the online magazine The Verge has looked into this question and found out that Microsoft was already pursuing the idea of bringing a similar device onto the market.
Details zum Xbox Cloud Gaming Handheld
The report claims that the company had worked on a cloud-connected Xbox handheld in the past, but then decided not to pursue the idea. The Verge, citing unnamed sources, reports some interesting details about this Xbox cloud gaming handheld:
“Sources familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox plans tell me that the company previously developed a prototype for a cloud-focused Xbox handheld. Microsoft has developed a lightweight version of the Xbox UI designed for use on handheld devices, specifically Cloud consoles and TVs While this interface has already been seen on some Samsung TVs, the dedicated Xbox cloud console Microsoft announced for 2021 has been canceled as Microsoft is focusing on the TV streaming app instead concentrated.”
There is no information as to when an Xbox handheld was in development or when the company decided to end the project. The company had presented similar projects before, or even announced them and then withdrew them.
In 2021 Microsoft had revealed it was working on a streaming stick-like device that could be connected to a TV and should support cloud gaming. In 2022, however, the company said it was backing away from the then version of the product, which was internally codenamed Keystone. One reason was that the costs were too high.
Since then it has been quiet about an Xbox handheld or a cloud streaming product. Microsoft leaked plans for a “handheld mode” for gaming with Windows 11 in April, but nothing has come of it so far.
So that both – both an adapted software and a hardware solution are already in Redmond in one of the development laboratories – is very likely. However, it is rather unlikely that Microsoft could release an Xbox cloud device in the foreseeable future.
One reason for this is that the company’s cloud gaming services are a major problem for government regulators such as the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA blocked Microsoft’s plans to acquire Activision Blizzard in April, believing the company could use Activision Blizzard’s games to expand its cloud gaming library and squeeze out competitors.
Therefore, it is currently more conceivable that the company will continue to support third-party providers such as Asus and Lenovo in producing their own devices instead of a handheld gaming PC developed by Microsoft.