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Xbox Explores Native Handheld Console, Moore Discusses Future of Gaming Hardware

Insider hints at Xbox's venture into handheld consoles as industry veterans ponder the future of gaming hardware.

Amid a surge in portable gaming popularity, insider claims reveal Microsoft's development of a "fully native" handheld Xbox console. Former Xbox head Peter Moore weighs in on the evolving landscape of game consoles, speculating on a future where traditional hardware may take a backseat to cloud and AI technologies.

Xbox Insider Reveals Plans for Native Handheld Device, Shifting Away from Cloud Gaming

Neowin reports that Microsoft intends to expand the Xbox ecosystem beyond traditional home consoles. According to Xbox insider Jez Corden, the tech giant is developing internal prototypes for a "fully native" handheld device without cloud gaming.

While prototypes do not guarantee commercial success, pursuing a handheld makes strategic sense for Xbox. Since 2017, the Nintendo Switch has sold over 100 million units, rapidly expanding the handheld market. Meanwhile, the Valve Steam Deck and other PC handhelds, such as the Aya Neo, are in high demand.

In September, The Verge wrote about a handheld Xbox cloud gaming device. "Microsoft has developed a lightweight version of the Xbox user interface that can run on handheld devices, dedicated cloud consoles, and TVs," the report said.

Phil Spencer, the CEO of Xbox and Microsoft Gaming, hinted that Xbox's following projects would be "unique and powerful." Microsoft Xbox President Sarah Bond also implied at new hardware announcements this holiday season and an ambitious new console generation in the works.

The article should have specified when this Xbox cloud gaming handheld was in development or when the company decided to discontinue the project. Microsoft may have given up on its cloud-based handheld plans.

If developed, an Xbox handheld would run its games natively, without streaming, as opposed to the recently rumored products that rely on cloud gaming. It will enable gaming on the go. It is still being determined whether PC gamers will accept this business plan.

Peter Moore Reflects on Console Future Amid Microsoft's Next-Gen Xbox Developments

A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced that it would port some of its first-party Xbox and PC games to Sony's PlayStation 5 and Nintendo's Switch consoles. At the same time, Microsoft Xbox President Sarah Bond confirmed that the company was working on the next Xbox console, which would provide "the largest technical leap you will have ever seen in a hardware generation."

However, Peter Moore, the former head of Microsoft's Xbox division, believes the company is discussing and debating the future of hardware console releases. Moore stated in a recent interview with IGN that he feels similar discussions are taking place at Sony and Nintendo.

"But I think it's a real serious question that's being asked I'm sure in Tokyo, in Redmond, Washington, in Kyoto. That's what everybody's working on right now because when you start that next generation, you've got to be ready to absorb billions of dollars in losses. And is the industry, given all the layoffs and everything we're going through right now, is the industry ready for that?"

Moore believes that in the future, gamers may decide that purchasing a separate piece of hardware to play games on their TV is not worthwhile and will instead play future games on a PC or a smartphone. The future of artificial intelligence in game development may also be a factor. Moore added:

"And then if you're Microsoft and you're Phil Spencer, you've got Satya Nadella coming in and saying, alright, what is the future here and how does this play into the most significant strategy of cloud with Azure, with AI? What are we doing with AI game development? How do you make your games faster, and cheaper, with less people? These are all the questions being asked.”

Moore also stated that while he was running Microsoft's Xbox division, there were discussions about the future of console hardware, including whether television manufacturers could insert a chip into a big-screen PC to play games with a controller.

Moore certainly has some interesting perspectives on the future of the game console industry. While Microsoft has announced that it is working on next-generation Xbox hardware, the release of Xbox Cloud Gaming may be a forerunner of a console-free game industry that could occur sooner rather than later.

Photo: Billy Freeman/Unsplash

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