Skip to main content

Xbox handheld console ideas were turned down multiple times by former Xbox boss

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox handheld console ideas were turned down multiple times within Microsoft, and a former Xbox boss has revealed why.

In an interview with the New York Game Awards earlier this week, former Xbox boss Robbie Bach revealed that there were three internal pitches for a portable Xbox devices, all of which referred to the handheld console as the "Xboy." Bach revealed that he personally turned down all three pitches because Xbox simply didn't have the bandwidth to support such an ambitious project.

"During my time at Xbox, there were at least three groups that presented portable Xbox presentations," the former Xbox boss said. "They always got called Xboy for some reason. Would have been a trademark problem, I'm sure. All three times we decided not to do it."

Despite Bach turning down three initial pitches, the project just wouldn't go away. The former boss revealed that time and time again over his nine years at Xbox, he would repeatedly turn down suggestions and pitches for a portable Xbox device, saying that they "just would not die."

In fact, current Xbox boss Phil Spencer revealed the company actually prototyped a portable Xbox console at some point prior to 2017. In an interview with Gamasutra, the current Xbox boss revealed that Microsoft had "roughly designed" a handheld device in the past. Nothing ever came from the design, obviously, and Xbox has since ventured into handheld gaming by way of game streaming through Xbox Game Pass, which launched last year for Android devices with over 150 games at launch.

For our pick of the best Xbox-related games you can play on the go right now, head over to our guide on the best xCloud games streaming titles to play for more.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.