As one of the top brands in the gaming industry, Xbox always has its attention set on the future. And rightfully so, as some of its strongest competition are other entertainment giants like Nintendo and Sony, specifically PlayStation. Speaking with Gamasutra in a recent interview, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer discussed just that: the evolution and innovation of Xbox. But what was perhaps most interesting was Spencer's reveal that Xbox has, in the past, created rough designs for a handheld console.
When asked about where Xbox is headed next, following the highly-anticipated Project Scorpio release, Spencer looked back on the (many) previous attempts at crafting an on-the-go Xbox akin to something like the Nintendo 3DS or, of course, the Nintendo Switch.
"Let me say that the amount of times we've designed, roughly designed, an Xbox handheld, or a cheap Xbox kind of stick that you could plug in and stream from an Xbox in the home, or play low-powered games," Spencer began, "We are always thinking and brainstorming on different scenarios of where the console could go. Or [where] the gaming experience, I guess, more specifically, could go."
As with many games companies, Xbox has its focus on the bigger picture, hoping to remain a few steps ahead. However, despite the attention on handheld consoles like Nintendo Switch, Spencer stated that he still has faith in at-home, connect-to-TV systems. "In terms of where [consoles] will go, I still believe in the power of a television in the home," he stated, before reiterating that it's one of the company's biggest dedications. "I know it's something that we're committed to, in the long run," Spencer said.
Although, Spencer also stated that the console space will undoubtedly be shaken up in the future as companies roll out newer, more innovative systems. He cited the quick-selling Switch as a primary example, commenting that "Nintendo always does cool things" and that he admires the company's ingenuity.
"Nintendo, I thought, did a cool thing with picking mobile. They kind of said, 'Okay, Switch is going to be a console that you can take with you. That's an interesting idea," Spencer said. "They did the second screen with Wii U, they obviously did the Wii and motion gaming in the room. I love that innovation."
Xbox's interest in crafting portable device follows after many of its main competitors releases. There's Nintendo's long list of handhelds that span back to the original Game Boy in 1989, and then there's Sony's entry into the mobile console scene, the PlayStation Portable (PSP) that debuted in the mid-2000s. While Microsoft is currently preparing for the launch of Project Scorpio, perhaps a handheld system will be coming next.
In any case, gaming fans can look forward to more details on Project Scorpio, which can run games in native 4k resolution, in the upcoming months. Though an exact release date hasn't yet been announced, the console is reportedly running ahead of schedule and is expected to launch later this year.
Xbox's Project Scorpio is set to launch later this year during the holiday 2017 season.