Imagining an Xbox gaming handheld console to compete with Nintendo Switch – Windows Central

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Xbox Game Pass Surface Duo GearsSource: Windows Central

While industry-leading video game consoles remain a big part of Xbox’s toolkit, future growth will rely on new markets. With Xbox Game Pass as a vehicle, Microsoft can grow its gaming aspirations beyond the slim margins of the home console, expanding across PC, and crucially, into our pockets, via cloud-based delivery on Android and iOS devices.

All of this remains anchored in Xbox consoles, though. Cloud games are built to be console-first, with UI scaled for TV, controls that are gamepad-first, and cameras that assume a larger screen space at a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Microsoft does have an API for building “cloud-aware” games, which can present differently if a smaller screen is detected, complete with bespoke touch controls. This API will improve over time, as will the uptake from developers, but a dedicated Xbox-style “handheld” could solve the UX gap in one fell swoop.

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I’ve always thought of the Nintendo Switch as the ultimate Xbox Game Pass cloud device. It’s the perfect screen size, has two separate controllers for split-screen co-op games, and the joysticks are even offset Xbox-style. Alas, whether or not Nintendo would allow a version of Xbox Game Pass to grace its platform is firmly up
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