Former Chief Xbox Officer Robbie Bach reveals that Microsoft was once considering a handheld Xbox console, as well as explaining why the project never saw development.
Microsoft has found a huge amount of success in the home console market through the Xbox line, going toe to toe with other big hitters such as Nintendo and Sony. However, unlike its two competitors, Microsoft never entered the handheld gaming race. However, it turns out that the company has actually considered this move numerous times during its time in gaming.
The reveal comes courtesy of Robbie Bach, former Chief Xbox Officer. Speaking in an interview with IGN, Bach explained that Microsoft had made rough plans for a portable device “multiple times.” Although the idea has colloquially been known as the ‘Xboy’, the Xbox handheld went under a variety of names during its fleeting moments of early development, although the device was always known as the “X something.”
Although the creation of the device did reach early stages, with Bach stating that “there were definitely drawings” of a Xbox handheld, Microsoft never pushed forward with plans. Thankfully, the former Chief Xbox Officer has also given a reason why the company did not enter the handheld market. According to Bach, Microsoft “just couldn’t focus” when it came to finite plans, stating that the tech behemoth “did not have the bandwidth.”
As it turns out, Microsoft appears to be quite happy with its decision to steer clear of the handheld market. Instead, the company put its effort fully towards the Xbox 360, which turned out to be what many consider one of the best consoles of all time. “Focusing on 360 was absolutely the right thing to do,” said Bach.
However, the former Xbox executive also stated that Microsoft was “lucky” by managing to avoid entering the handheld market just as smartphones were becoming a dominant force in on-the-go gaming. “For us it was a focus issue and as it turned out strategically it was a smart decision, but that’s somewhat accidental,” Bach said. Although Nintendo has seen good sales for the 3DS, mobile gaming has certainly made a strong foothold in video games – particularly with the massive success of Pokemon GO.
It’s not the only story of late that has revealed the behind-the-scenes workings of Microsoft and its Xbox projects. Recently, it has been revealed that Bill Gates himself nearly closed down original Xbox development, while Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley also let rip some hilarious Xbox controller prototypes. However, with the release of the Xbox One S and Project Scorpio coming up, it’s clear that Microsoft is also trying to ensure its future in the industry, instead of just dwelling on the past.