News of Microsoft developing a handheld game for the Xbox first surfaced in an FTC filing last year. This was further confirmed in March by a subsequent leak which claimed that Microsoft plans to launch its first portable gaming console in 2026. Now Microsoft has added fuel to those rumors by sending out a survey to participants asking about their current use of handheld games devices and their views on gaming notebooks. Specifically, the survey asked whether participants would consider purchasing another gaming notebook in the next five years and what prompted them to buy one in the first place.

These questions suggest that Microsoft is indeed developing an Xbox handheld gaming device. The survey also asked about the importance of being able to stream games through Xbox Game Pass, suggesting that Microsoft is still weighing whether to focus more on game services or launch its own hardware devices.

Potential specs and release timeline

The March report stated that Microsoft is currently prototyping a new handheld gaming device. However, it is not clear if its specifications will be better than similar products on the market right now. Given the potential release time of 2026, if Microsoft chooses to collaborate with AMD, the device will most likely be equipped with a Zen 6 CPU and an RDNA 5 integrated graphics card.

This would align with the company’s recent efforts to expand its gaming ecosystem beyond traditional consoles. The Xbox Series X and S have already demonstrated Microsoft’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of console performance. Thus, a handheld device may be the next logical step in their strategy. If Microsoft gets it right, this device might just give it a much-needed big break.

Xbox handheld console

Balancing hardware and services

The survey’s question about the importance of Xbox Game Pass streaming suggests that Microsoft is still trying to find the right balance between hardware and services. The company has invested heavily in its gaming subscription service, which has seen significant growth in recent years.

However, the potential launch of a dedicated gaming handheld could mean that Microsoft sees value in offering a more traditional hardware experience alongside its cloud-based offerings. This could be a way to appeal to a wider range of gamers, from those who prefer the convenience of streaming to those who want a more dedicated gaming rig.

Implications for the gaming landscape

The introduction of an Xbox gaming handheld could have significant implications for the wider gaming landscape. This will mark Microsoft’s first foray into the portable gaming market. It has traditionally been the ‘home of Nintendo’ and more recently the rise of mobile gaming.

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Xbox handheld console

A well-executed Xbox handheld could challenge the dominance of the Nintendo Switch, which has been a huge success for the Japanese gaming giant. It could also potentially disrupt the mobile gaming market, especially if Microsoft can leverage its extensive library of Xbox games and the power of Xbox Game Pass.

Additionally, the development of a handheld Xbox could signal a shift in Microsoft’s overall gaming strategy. The company has increasingly focused on expanding its gaming ecosystem beyond the traditional console market, with initiatives such as cloud gaming and the integration of Xbox services across platforms.

Potential challenges and considerations

While the prospect of an Xbox portable gaming device is exciting, Microsoft is likely to face several challenges and considerations in bringing such a product to market.

A key challenge will be differentiating the device from the competition and offering a compelling value proposition to consumers. The portable gaming market is already crowded, with the Nintendo Switch and an array of mobile gaming devices vying for attention.

Microsoft will need to take a hard look at the device’s hardware specs, design, and overall user experience to ensure it stands out in the market. The company will also need to build a strong library of games and ensure seamless integration with the existing Xbox ecosystem, including Xbox Game Pass and cloud gaming services.

Another consideration will be the potential impact on Microsoft’s existing console business. While a handheld could expand the company’s reach and appeal to a wider audience, it could also cannibalize sales of its traditional Xbox consoles. Microsoft will need to strike a delicate balance between these two product lines to ensure they complement each other and drive the overall growth of the Xbox brand.


Recent research and rumors surrounding Microsoft’s plans for an Xbox handheld gaming device suggest that the company is actively exploring this market opportunity. While the specifics of the device and its release schedule remain uncertain, the potential implications for the gaming industry are significant.

If Microsoft can successfully launch a compelling gaming handheld, it could upset established players in the portable gaming space and further solidify the company’s position as a major force in the gaming industry. However, the company will have to deal with a number of challenges and considerations to ensure the success of such a product. It will have a huge task to displace the older brands in this segment.

Ultimately, developing an Xbox portable gaming device would be a bold and ambitious move for Microsoft that could have far-reaching implications for the gaming landscape as a whole. What do you think about Microsoft releasing an Xbox handheld game console? Will this lead to a possible big breakthrough for the company? Or do you think it will be in Nintendo’s shadow? Let us know what you think about it in the comments section below.

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Microsoft hints at an Xbox handheld console launch