Is Xbox going portable? (Picture: Microsoft)
The boss of Xbox seems to have confirmed rumours that Microsoft is working on a Switch style handheld console.
There’s a strong chance, however, that this is only part of the story. With questions around whether Xbox is leaving hardware behind altogether, or planning to kickstart their next console early, it’s possible that we could get an indication of Microsoft’s other plans in the gaming space.
One ongoing rumour is the possibility of Switch-like hybrid device with a dock, with speculation pointing towards a possible launch in 2026. While nothing has been confirmed, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has suggested on Twitter he’s at the very least interested in the idea.
On Monday, The Verge reporter Tom Warren posted an image of the Xbox operating system working on a Steam Deck, with the caption, ‘This is what I want.’ A follow-up tweet was liked by Spencer, where Warren encouraged Microsoft to ‘step in’ to make it a reality.
While in isolation this might be passed up as a friendly back and forth, this is the second time Spencer has liked a post related to an Xbox handheld in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the Xbox exec liked a post on Windows Central Gaming with the headline: ‘An Xbox handheld isn’t just likely to happen. For Microsoft, it’s absolutely necessary.’
Judging by Spencer’s other likes on the platform, he doesn’t commonly respond to articles or rumours regarding the future of Xbox – suggesting that some kind of Xbox handheld, or an Xbox operating system for other handheld devices, might be on the cards.
If true, it’s unlikely we’ll get an official reveal of any new Xbox console during Thursday’s presentation – especially as it’s in a low-key podcast format. But, as Xbox likes to do, they might dance around the possibility with some purposefully vague wording.
It’s relatively surprising that neither Sony or Microsoft has tried to copy the Switch before now, given how many PC-based versions of the idea there are, including Steam Deck – with the only thing close being the PlayStation Portable.
The Switch will have been around so long by 2026 that Microsoft risks missing the boat, especially if the Switch 2 is substantially different to its forebear, but the original rumour suggested there would also be a standard, under-the-TV, home console as well.
An Xbox operating system on other platforms might be an easier route, but Spencer has said in the past that companies like Sony and Nintendo are not interested in hosting Xbox Game Pass on the platform.
For now, we’ll have to wait until Thursday to see the next steps in Xbox’s shift in approach, whether that involves a new console device or not.
To submit Inbox letters and Reader’s Features more easily, without the need to send an email, just use our Submit Stuff page here.
For more stories like this, check our Gaming page.
Sign up to all the exclusive gaming content, latest releases before they’re seen on the site.