A major shakeup within Xbox leadership is set to change the console in the literal sense, and it may end the discussion about Microsoft stopping new hardware with the Xbox Series.
This is a crucial time for Xbox as the company tries to bridge the gap with Sony and the PlayStation brand after closing its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Despite that, speculation has centered around the idea that Microsoft intends to go all-in as a third-party game publisher like Sega did, and shut down its console division as a result.
There’s no official word yet on how Microsoft plans to gain an edge in the console market, but last year’s leak of internal Microsoft documents revealed that Microsoft is preparing for a significant shift in how it approaches the Xbox. Despite the potentially huge changes, multiple reports now suggest that Xbox hardware isn’t going away yet.
Is Xbox going to stop making consoles?
Multiple reports suggest that Xbox is going to continue making video game consoles for the foreseeable future but with major changes to the team and plans.
Nick Baker is the latest to discuss this, reporting on the XboxEra Podcast about changes when it comes to how Microsoft is developing new Xbox hardware. He said that he had heard that “Jason Roland is not leading the next Xbox and that the Surface team is.” Roland has been Microsoft’s VP of Xbox gaming devices and ecosystem for more than 17 years, overseeing the development of consoles such as the Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One X.
The Microsoft Surface is a line of portable PC-tablet hybrids and two-in-one detachable notebooks. The Surface team has dabbled with gaming in the past, introducing an Xbox handheld-like experience with the Surface Duo which allows users to use virtual gamepads on one screen and play games on the other.
This was the closest Xbox has come in recent years to using its XCloud services and other hardware to provide a handheld experience for gamers.
Microsoft had previously worked on a dedicated game-streaming device, codenamed Keystone, that could connect to any TV or monitor without the need for a console, but those plans were scrapped just weeks before release over pricing concerns. Xbox CEO Phil Spencer has indicated that Microsoft is working to support Xbox and Game Pass on other portable PC devices like the ROG Ally. Microsoft making an Xbox handheld PC would explain why the Surface team is now working on Xbox hardware.