Microsoft working on a handheld Xbox.

The rumors that Microsoft might join Sony and Nintendo in the handheld gaming market appear to be true:

The Microsoft product would compete with Sony, Nintendo and Apple Computer’s products, including the iPod. And Microsoft has some of its most seasoned talent from the division that created its popular Xbox 360 working on it. Game executive J Allard leads the project, and its director is Greg Gibson, who was the system designer on the Xbox 360 video game console. Bryan Lee, the finance chief on the Xbox business, is leading the business side of the project.

By anchoring its entertainment device as a handheld game player, Microsoft is starting from its position of strength in the entertainment business that it hopes Apple cannot match, even with its iPod. The game press has dubbed it an “iPod killer,’’ but its functions would likely more closely resemble Sony’s PlayStation Portable multimedia gaming device.

While details are sketchy, the pedigree of the people in charge of the business show how strategic it is to Microsoft’s future.

“That would certainly be an interesting development in the market,’’ said Anita Frazier, a game industry analyst at the NPD Group.

Interesting indeed. While Sony’s PSP has done well, it hasn’t stolen the handheld market like Sony had hoped. Sales of the various Gameboys is primarily what keeps Nintendo afloat these days and they’ve been working hard at retaining their position on top of the heap. With Microsoft preparing to enter the fray should Nintendo be worried?

Link via Joystiq.

2 thoughts on “Microsoft working on a handheld Xbox.

  1. Hmmmm… I’ll say a portable X-Box’ll definitely hurt Nintendo stateside.  In Japan, though, I’m thinking it’s another matter – Nintendogs, Animal Crossing, and such games are a way of life there.

    And as an aside, I’m loving this, from Gamespot:

    “Q: How do you think the Revolution will sell?

    RFA: We will sell more units than [the] Xbox 360 did here in the United States in our launch window. I mean, in December, we sold more GameCubes in the United States than Microsoft sold 360s, and Revolution will do better than that.”

  2. I’ll give Nintendo much credit and plenty of kudos for taking chances on unusual game designs and that has gone a long way to keeping them afloat in Japan. where “kawaii” is king. I’d love to see Sony and Microsoft take a few more chances on titles like the ones you mentioned. The PS2 got Katamari Damaci and it was a pleasant surprise, but we could use more titles like that.

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