The economics and monetization models are different now vs PSP and DS days and even against the switch.
PSP DS, and Switch all had to be the main platform, meaning that the revenue drivers such as the digital and physical sales are all tied to the sales of the console, which meant that third party would only make games for the device only if money-hatted or there is enough install base. It’s a lot of investment not just on the R&D , HW side, but also the software library side on the part of the device maker. Software investment is the most expensive side.
For Xbox and Valve, the portable is an addition to their devices ecosystem. They don’t have to invest on the software side, since they already did so, as long as the devices run the existing games.
But that does not address the sales numbers though. 3m of Steam Deck is not much. It is like Oculus VR sales basically. Even less. And that despite having revenue from Steam Store. And while selling at loss.
Personally I would love to have Series S handheld with 350$ price and it would have decimated almost every other handheld, but I don’t see that happening.
There is no question that an Xbox portable would very likely be a big for Xbox if released now. The motivation and market sense to make one most likely exists within Xbox, but it is logistically a very hard case.
The simple fact is, NO, they cannot shrink down the Xbox Series S down to a portable form, that’s ridiculous
to expect with the physical properties of the electrical engineering that we have right now, so unless they have some incredible automatic downscaling solutions that could run anything on the Series S on weaker portable hardware without any developer intervention, I think that’s not gonna happen, and when physically they could do it, it wouldn’t be timely.
That’s my issue with waiting until 3nm enhanced for a Series S portable. The window for a native portable launch might be within this year. 2025-2026 perhaps the landscape will have changed where the thirst for portables might be lower.
That’s why i proposed the MVP version of a Super Xbox One level portable in my OP. Plays cross gen games, Xbox One games with FPS boost, and is really easy to port to from Series S.
Series S portable, despite any optimistic advancement this generation will have some concessions at the end
Price: It will easily be $500 or upwards and still lose money. Although that $500 price is justified for me
Performance: we need to go from 90w to 30w, can’t see it happening with current advancement of silicon. Need to go Switch route, lower performance in portable mode and full performance in docked mode.
Battery: well point 1 and 2 dictates battery life.
The best possible scenario I can guess is, ‘first party’ focused handheld device. First party can easily optimise for a third SKU. It could be invite only for other third party studios. And offcourse, xbox one and backwards game will run just fine on it.
In portable mode, only the optimised games will run. Other games in docked mode only.
At this point, I think Xbox should make it a PC like xbox portable and windows Store on it.
Device could run both Xbox games and windows games side by side. Xbox games would be well optimised and legacy stuff. Windows games will give choice to play any PC game present on windows Store and third party games can be accessed from there
There are some caveats though, RDNA3 could help with getting the S more power efficient, as can newer Zen Cores. One needs to “match performance” for lower power use. Add to that a smaller node , and you might actually be able to get it to 30w. HOWEVER, that price man… it’s not going to be cheap lol.
People keep forgetting that the Series S is no slouch, it outdoes most Laptops easily. All this crap certain game devs are giving it for “being underpowered” is just silly if they ever made a PC game .
I think many underestimate how many non PC gamers bought a steamdeck. I had a bunch of friend who haven’t played on PC in a decade, but ended up buying a steam deck because they were looking for a switch alternative since Switch is struggling with performance these days. I believe there’s a market for high end portable and xbox could have advantage by allowing you to play gamepass natively and giving you access to your xbox library.