Phil Spencer shoots down rumors of a PlayStation Portal like Xbox handheld

Phil Spencer
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Rumors of a potential handheld console from Microsoft have been swirling for awhile now, with some even predicting that the recent Xbox Games Showcase would feature the reveal of such hardware. 

While that wasn’t the case in the end, with the company instead announcing some new Xbox models including a white Xbox Series X, there were still a few slithers of new information about such a device that came out over the weekend.

Most significantly, in an interview with IGN as part IGN Live 2024, journalist Ryan McCaffrey quizzed Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer all about Xbox - including a potential handheld from the company. In response to a question about whether it would allow you to play games locally or rely on cloud gaming technology, Spencer replied: “I think being able to play games locally is really important.”

Spencer also explained that he has been enjoying his time with the Asus Rog Ally, Lenovo Legion Go, and Steam Deck, which are all popular handheld systems that are capable of playing games locally. Although not quite an official confirmation, I think we can safely assume that, if an Xbox handheld is indeed in the works, it will likely feature the ability to play games in a local capacity based on this reaction.

This would put any Xbox handheld in quite a different place to the likes of the PlayStation Portal, a remote play device from competitor Sony. The PlayStation Portal requires a constant connection to a PlayStation 5 console, which has led to criticism from some players eager for offline functionality. That said, we still consider the PlayStation Portal one of the best handheld gaming consoles right now in its own right and awarded it a glowing five stars in our PlayStation Portal review.

Being able to play some of the best Xbox Series X games on the go without any need for internet would be an incredibly tempting prospect, especially given the potential for compatibility with the Xbox Game Pass subscription service. That said, we’re just going to have to wait and see exactly what Microsoft has in store.

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Dashiell Wood
Hardware Writer

Dash is a technology journalist who covers gaming hardware at TechRadar. Before joining the TechRadar team, he was a print journalist writing articles for some of the UK's biggest gaming magazines such as PLAY, Edge, PC Gamer, and SFX. Now, when he's not getting his greasy little mitts on the newest hardware or gaming gadget, he can be found feverishly devouring the latest Nintendo Switch otome.