Product Reviews

Xbox Handheld coming? Windows 11 gets Handheld gaming mode

In the past week, we have been surprised by the fact that Sony is working on a handheld console. After the company’s colossal failure with the PS Vita, we had not any hope for a new portable console. However, it seems to be coming very soon in the form of the PlayStation Q Lite. The device may end up being another fiasco, after all, it seems to be limited to work only on remote play with the PS5. However, it clearly shows that there is a trend for handheld consoles, and everyone wants to take a slice of this market. After Valve’s successful Steam Deck, and the dominance of the Nintendo Switch, everyone wants to get a slice of the cake. Apparently, Microsoft could be preparing the terrain for a world full of handheld consoles with Windows 11. Or is it the first sign of a new Xbox Handheld? Let’s find one.

Xbox Handheld Console

Xbox certainly conquered its place as one of the biggest forces in the video game industry. However, Microsoft never showed any interest in the handheld market. Nintendo is one of the pioneers of the segment, while Sony had very successful days back in the PSP era. When it comes to Microsoft, we never saw anything close to a portable Xbox console. Is this the right time for one? Well, maybe, but perhaps this is not what we’re expecting.

Windows 11 with optimized UI for handhelds is a reality

Although Microsoft still sells video game hardware, the company has a big focus on services. The giant has been acquiring a lot of studios and publishers to build a strong ecosystem of game producers. Everything seems to be a move to keep strengthening its portfolio of services like Xbox Cloud and Game Pass. Windows 11 is a different branch but has a lot of features that integrate with Xbox’s ecosystem. This is also due to the fact that most Xbox games are available for Windows, and Microsoft wants PC players to have an enjoyable experience. With the recent update, Windows 11 is getting an optimized mode for handheld consoles.

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A recent video shared on Twitter shows that some high employees at Microsoft are playing with the idea of a Windows Handheld mode. So the OS will be versatile to support handheld consoles. With the success of Steam Deck, there are a lot of handheld consoles emerging. Asus, for example, will soon unveil its own handheld console and it will run Windows 11. With this new UI adjustment, the OS would run perfectly on ASUS’s upcoming hardware.

Microsoft seems to be adjusting its OS for a new market trend. Those who wish to venture into the PC Handheld segment will find Windows 11 a seamless experience. When it comes to a handheld Xbox, there are some rumors about one, but we don’t think that this is a big indication of its arrival. If there is an Xbox Handheld coming soon, we believe it will take the same route that Sony is taking with the PlayStation Q Lite. Rather than selling hardware to run native games, Microsoft probably will launch hardware for cloud gaming. After all, the Xbox Cloud is one of the company’s rising services.

An Xbox Handheld? Maybe for cloud gaming

The footage is the result of a hackathon project from September 2022. The projects had some of Dorotyh Feng’s work, a senior UX designer a Microsoft. The development also has the work of Hayden McAfee, who works specifically on the Windows gaming experience. It includes a launcher for playing games from the Epic Games Store, Steam, EA Play, and, of course, PC Game Pass. The design eases the use on touchscreen devices and controllers. This is a prototype, and at this point, there is no way of telling if it will become a reality.


It’s interesting to see that there is some work inside Microsoft to make Windows 11 more versatile. Right now, this does not indicate the launch of an Xbox Handheld. However, if there is one coming, we are pretty sure it will be hardware to push the company’s services forward. Unlike Sony’s possible prototype that will require a PS5 for Remote Play, Xbox could launch a product to work independently with Cloud and Game Pass Ultimate.

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Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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