The Xbox Handheld That Never Was

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chris-littlechild - July 25, 2016

  Say what you will about Wii U. Snark all over it, if you want. There’s one thing no gamer can deny: their current-gen console may be a little wanktacular, but Nintendo rule the world of handheld systems. They have since the good ol’ Game Boy days, really. There’s been little, if anything, that remotely rivaled the success of the GBA/DS/3DS.   

Sony were on to a fairly good thing with the PSP for a while there. Technically superior, those funky UMD dealies it used… what’s not to like? Thing is, though, more gigaflops, higher horsepower and a quicker 0-60 –or something-- doesn’t win a handheld console war by itself. Just think of the sad fate of the PS Vita, a damn purty little thing with some real grunt under its hood. There was so much potential there. Then it was dumped in the middle of the ocean and forgotten about, like nuclear waste while Greenpeace isn’t looking.

Microsoft, of course, have been notably absent from the portable world all along. But they weren’t supposed to be. Remember all the rumor-mongering about a supposed ‘Xboy’ system a while back? That came kinda sorta maybe a little close to happening.

Why didn’t it? A lack of focus at Xbox, former Chief Officer Robbie Bach told IGN.

‘There were definitely drawings,’ he said. Here’s more of the skinny from the report:

‘In fact, plans for "Xboy" came up as a project "multiple times" at Microsoft, with Bach noting that "it wasn’t always called Xboy," though, the hypothetical handheld was always called "X something." While the company felt as though they needed to "play in that part of the ecosystem," he said the device never came to fruition "because we just couldn’t focus. We just did not have the bandwidth." Fortunately for Microsoft, the decision to focus all its efforts on the console market worked in its favor, as smartphones soon took over the mobile scene. "For us it was a focus issue and as it turned out strategically it was a smart decision, but that’s somewhat accidental," Bach said.'

'In hindsight, the former Xbox boss believes he was proven correct in that "focusing on 360 was absolutely the right thing to do," but also "lucky" because smartphones took over that marketplace.’

Judging by some of the Internet’s mock-ups of what such a device would look like, this is a sad loss to the world right here. More on this at the link.

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