Nintendo may be the undisputed king of the handheld gaming market, but more than one company over the years have attempted to give the Big N a run for their money. The Wonderswan, PSP and Sega Game Gear are all great examples of Nintendo facing resistance to its solid monopoly. One name absent from that list? Microsoft’s Xbox Division, as that platform has shied away from going mobile.
For good reason as well. Speaking to Gamasutra, Big Xboss Phil Spencer detailed how Microsoft had invested time and money into the idea of a portable Xbox. “Well, 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 said.
We are always thinking and brainstorming on different scenarios of where the console could go. Or the gaming experience, I guess, more specifically, could go.
In terms of where console will go, I still believe in the power of a television in the home. Now some people don’t, right. I happen to have two daughters, they’re younger, they don’t watch TV — they watch things on their laptop, right. This big screen on the wall that’s a communal viewing service is something of my age demographic, and not theirs.
That said, she’ll come down and play games with me. So I believe in that television experience, which I really believe console is docked to, in my mind. Console let’s four of us grab controllers and try to go play Overcooked and yell and swear at each other when Jason [glancing meaningfully across the table at Xbox ATG chief Jason Ronald] forgets to slice the tomatoes, or something. I think that experience is magical.
And I think it’s something that — I know it’s something that we’re committed to, in the long run.
The closest Microsoft ever got to achieving some measure of a mobile foothold, was most likely during the asymmetrical gaming craze of a couple of years ago when they introduced SmartGlass to consumers. Remember that? Pretty much dead right now, Microsoft has instead focused on the home console environment, introducing a new model of the Xbox One and have begun preparing for the launch of the higher-end Scorpio.
Microsoft’s got a solid ecosystem for console and PC. One can only imagine how much of a spanner a mobile device would throw into that delicate balance.