Could Microsoft release a portable Xbox to compete with the Nintendo Switch?

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Microsoft is rumoured to be developing a new portable device, aiming to compete with the Nintendo Switch in the handheld market.

As reported by Notebook Check, one industry leaker has claimed the company is "working on a portable machine" with an announcement possibly coming soon.

This comes as the Nintendo Switch continues to hit impressive sales figures for Nintendo, recently surpassing 80 million units sold.

However, would this move into the handheld space make sense for Microsoft? Let's find out.

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Xbox handheld console rumour

According to the rumour, Microsoft will launch a new portable Xbox device.

While this rumour seems pretty far-fetched, and we're not that convinced, there is precedent for Microsoft's venture into the handheld domain. In an interview during the New York Game Awards in January, Robbie Bach - the former president of Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices division - explained that he had turned down multiple pitches for a portable Xbox console known as the 'Xboy'.

This rumour comes after speculation grows over the possibility of a new 5G PSP from Sony. However, given both Microsoft and Sony are struggling with component shortages for their next-gen consoles, we'd be surprised if either console manufacturer invests in a new device soon.

A Sony PSP console with a 5G logo, on a blue background
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Is the PSP set for a comeback?

Should Microsoft release a handheld Xbox?

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Probably not.

While the Nintendo Switch has seen immense success in the handheld market, it would not make sense for Xbox to make the shift into the handheld market.

With the launch of xCloud streaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Xbox's mobile end game comes through cloud streaming rather than a handheld device. If Microsoft wants to compete with Nintendo, this would be an easy space to capture, given Nintendo has previously emphasised its reluctance to enter the cloud gaming sphere.

xCloud streaming is currently available on Android devices only, with support for iOS and PC devices set to launch later this year via a web-browser.

READ MORE: Xbox’s Edge browser to support Google Stadia streaming