Mar 31, 2024 3 min read

#44: Is Microsoft working on XboxOS?

In today's overkill digest newsletter we'll look at the rumours regarding changes to Xbox.

#44: Is Microsoft working on XboxOS?

In today's overkill digest newsletter we'll look at the rumours regarding changes to Xbox.

Hi, hello, happy Easter, and welcome to a new edition of the overkill digest newsletter.

It's been a slower week since Nintendo stayed put for once, and there has been no new drama in the emulation community. However, we have some interesting rumours regarding Xbox, so let's dive right into them.

Big this week

  • Phil Spencer can't stop thinking about an Xbox handheld. Spencer has been talking about an Xbox handheld for quite some time now, and judging by recent rumours, Microsoft is actively working on such a device. But in that linked interview with Polygon, the Xbox boss said one particularly intriguing thing: "I like the fact that Valve, Lenovo, and Asus went out and innovated in a new form factor. And I will say that when I'm playing on those devices, it almost feels more like a console than a PC — nine times out of 10. The things that usually frustrate me are more Windows-based than device-based. Which is an area I feel some ownership of. Like, I want to be able to log in with a controller. I've got my list of things we should go do." We mention it regularly, but the biggest issue of most handheld PCs is Windows. And Spencer seems well aware of that, according to the quote above. However, except for Microsoft, an Xbox handheld would not solve this issue. It's not like Asus or Lenovo could benefit from whatever software Microsoft builds for that Xbox handheld. Except if you start to piece things together. Because in another interview with Polygon, Spencer mentioned he'd like to bring alternative storefronts like the Epic Games Store to Xbox. This would open up the Xbox software in an unprecedented way, transforming Xboxes into gaming PCs, only that they run without your typical Windows Desktop mode (which could easily be added as an option like on SteamOS). So what Microsoft may be doing here is creating a first-party device based on an open Xbox environment, like they did with the Surface laptop line-up for Windows, while offering this new XboxOS to third-party manufacturers to use on their devices. This way, users could either get hardware directly from the software maker – and while it might not be the most powerful, it's undoubtedly the best integrated – or use an alternative, knowing that their experience is the same on every device. I, for one, would welcome this change.

In other news

That's all for this week.

Enjoy your Sunday.


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