It's long been a subject of debate among gamers as to whether or not Microsoft will ever produce a handheld console to challenge the incumbents from Sony and Nintendo, so let's add a little fuel to that with news about a possible mobile Xbox.

Speaking to the games website Kikizo, MS VP Shane Kim strongly suggested that a handheld version of the Xbox is not just possible but actually likely.

When, not if

He bluntly stated: "For us, it's a matter of focusing on 'when', because if we chased after a mobile or handheld opportunity, we would not have the resources and ability to do things like... Project Natal. [B]ut we're building a service in [Xbox] Live that... will extend to other platforms. No question about it."

As for why making the Xbox experience mobile is important, Kim made it clear that connectivity is the key. "We understand that customers don't want an island experience, they want to be connected to the rest of their lives."

In other words, he sees it as essential to keep players within the Xbox world on as many platforms as possible.

A phone too?

Kim also raised the subject of what kind of hardware might be needed: "So the question will be, how do we enter into that market - do we do our own device, do we create our own phone?"

With so many diverse threads at Microsoft leading to mobile devices as diverse as Zune, Windows Mobile and, possibly, Xbox mobile, it seems clear the company has some big decisions to make soon.