Xbox has no plans to make its own handheld system, per leaked documents

As part of the massive Xbox leak that came as part of its FTC trial, we got a look at Microsoft’s road map for Xbox through 2030. One slide of this presentation outlines the kinds of hardware possible for Microsoft to make (and not make) itself. Most notably, Microsoft states in this document that making a dedicated Xbox handheld is “not in scope for first party.”

The image showing that a handheld is not in scope for Microsoft.

Microsoft has been an avid supporter of devices like the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld and ROG Ally with Xbox Cloud Gaming, but it was still quite surprising that the company never aimed to release a handheld that competed with those and Nintendo Switch itself. Now, we know that as far back as this May 2022 roadmap, Microsoft did not believe it currently has the resources and scope to make a Handheld.

In a slide titled “Current Gaps in FY23 to Reach 2030” Xbox outlines hardware that’s funded, not funded but in scope, and not in scope for Microsoft to make itself. “Handheld” sticks out the most in its section, but other pieces of hardware listed as “not in scope” include earbuds, a media remote, and a mobile controller. That’s interesting, as mockup images of an Xbox one-hand controller that’s similar to a media remote and mobile controller are listed with other Xbox hardware in an earlier slide titled “Xbox Gaming Media.”

Ultimately, it seems that this part of the presentation is meant to show that pieces of hardware like those or an Xbox gaming handheld aren’t currently possible for Xbox to make by 2030 with the resources and funding it had at its disposal as of fiscal year 2023. At the very least, it shows that Microsoft is keenly aware of the demand for an Xbox handheld, enough to map out its viability alongside other Xbox hardware.

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