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Microsoft introduces three new Xbox models, hints at potential handheld device

What just happened? With Sony’s PlayStation 5 outselling the console by a huge margin and once-exclusive games being made available on other platforms, questions have been raised recently about the Xbox machines’ future. But that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from unveiling three new editions of the current-gen Xbox consoles, and brand boss Phil Spencer hinted that a handheld Xbox isn’t out of the question.

None of the new Xbox consoles Microsoft announced at the Xbox Games Showcase are PS5 Pro-style major upgrades. The biggest change is found in the Xbox Series X – 1TB Digital Edition in Robot White. In addition to coming in white for the first time, it’s all digital – i.e., no disc drive.

Removing the disc drive means the console will be cheaper than the regular 1TB Series X. The white model, available later this year, will be priced at $449, while the current black 1TB Xbox Series X with a disc drive is $499. However, it can be currently found on offer for $449.99.

Another Xbox Series X was shown off by Xbox president Sarah Bond, this one with a disc drive. The Galaxy Black special edition comes with double the internal storage (2TB) and a black finish covered in white speckles for a space-like look. It will carry a $599.99 price tag.

The third and final updated Xbox is an Xbox Series S with 1TB. This one is a Robot White version of the current Carbon Black model and comes with the same $349.99 price. There are claims based on previous leaks that this white Series S will have an upgraded heatsink, though that won’t be confirmed until it arrives later in 2024. Like all Xbox Series S consoles, it lacks a disc drive.

Being the same Xbox consoles with more storage and new paint jobs meant there wasn’t too much excitement around the announcement. What did gain more attention, however, was Microsoft’s Xbox chief Phil Spencer dropping another hint about an Xbox handheld device.

Speaking to IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey at IGN Live, Spencer said “I think we should have a handheld, too.”

Spencer also suggested such a device would be a handheld gaming machine in the more traditional sense of the word, able to play games locally rather than it being fully cloud-based.

“I like my ROG Ally, my Lenovo Legion Go, my Steam Deck. I think being able to play games locally is really important,” said Spencer.

Spencer has been dropping hints about an Xbox handheld since 2017, and this is probably his biggest yet. With the market for these devices still growing following the advent of the Switch and Steam Deck, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft/Xbox joins the party.

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