Microsoft could be looking to launch a gaming handheld according to a massive set of leaks from the FTC.
Currently, as spotted by Overkill.wtf, the console doesn’t have a name or any kind of release date. It’s also possible the Xbox handheld could very well be a streaming device similar to the Sony PlayStation Portal, although there’s some information that counters that.
In the image below you can see the handheld alongside a treasure trove of leaks that include a new Series S and Series X console, a new mainline controller, a one-handed controller, and a mobile controller.
What sticks out to me is the unannounced streaming box next to the handheld. There’s been talk of Microsoft releasing a console designed purely for Game Pass for years, so this could be that. Interestingly, the Game Pass streaming box is listed next to the Xbox handheld. Does that mean the Xbox handheld will be a streaming device or – as it’s situated between the streaming box and the main Xbox consoles – a bridge between the two?
Given the popularity of the Steam Deck and ASUS ROG Ally, it would make sense for Microsoft to launch a dedicated gaming handheld. Conversely, launching a new piece of hardware takes a lot of resources to reach mass appeal. And let’s be realistic, you won’t get Series X performance in handheld form for a few years to come. A handheld with Series S specs, though? That’s possible.
A New Game Pass Handheld?
In all likelihood, the Xbox handheld is almost sure to be a Game Pass device of some sort. That would keep the costs low and would be a much less risky move for the third most popular gaming company. Microsoft has also previously praised both the Steam Deck and the ASUS ROG Ally – the latter of which has a deal where new purchases come with three months of Game Pass for free. Would Microsoft be happy to step on other company’s toes if it were to launch its own high-end PC handheld? It’s not outside of the realm of possibility, but it’s still unlikely.
Microsoft’s biggest draw at the moment, aside from Starfield, is Game Pass and bringing Game Pass to as many people as possible. A Game Pass handheld, then, would be perfect for those who don’t want to shell out the high cost associated with current-gen consoles. The PlayStation Portal, for example, comes in at $199 and is considered an affordable option for those looking to stream PS5 games.
The flip side of that is the Game Pass console wouldn’t even need an Xbox to play Xbox games. Just hook it up to an Internet connection, grab a subscription, and you’re good to play a selection of Xbox games.
Of course, this is all speculation as of right now, so pinch of salt, yeah? Still, if Microsoft is looking to get into the handheld market, more choice for consumers is always a good thing.