Is Xbox going portable? (Photo: Microsoft)

The head of Xbox appears to have confirmed rumors that Microsoft is working on a Switch-style handheld console.

As Xbox prepares to announce its future plans on Thursday, it is expected to finally confirm that at least some of its exclusive games will be multi-format.

There's a good chance, however, that this is just part of the story. With questions surrounding whether Xbox is leaving hardware behind or planning to launch its next console early, it's possible we could get an indication of Microsoft's other plans in the gaming space.

An ongoing rumor is the possibility of a docked Switch-like hybrid device, with speculation pointing to a possible 2026 launch. While nothing has been confirmed, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has hinted on Twitter that he is at least interested in the idea .

On Monday, The Verge reporter Tom Warren posted an image of the Xbox operating system running on a Steam Deck, with the caption: “This is what I want.” A follow-up tweet was liked by Spencer, where Warren encouraged Microsoft to “step in” to make this a reality.

While in isolation this could be considered a friendly exchange, this is the second time Spencer has liked a post related to an Xbox handheld in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Xbox executive liked a post on Windows Central Gaming with the headline: 'An Xbox handheld is not likely to happen. For Microsoft, it is absolutely necessary.”

Judging by Spencer's other likes on the platform, he typically doesn't respond to articles or rumors about the future of Xbox – suggesting that some kind of Xbox handheld, or an Xbox operating system for other portable devices, might be in the plans.

If true, it's unlikely we'll get an official reveal of any new Xbox console during Thursday's keynote – especially since it's in a low-key podcast format. But, as Xbox likes to do, they can sidestep the possibility with some purposefully vague words.

It's relatively surprising that neither Sony nor Microsoft have tried to copy the Switch before, given how many PC versions of the idea there are, including the Steam Deck – with the only thing close being the PlayStation Portable.

The Switch will have been around so long by 2026 that Microsoft risks missing the boat, especially if the Switch 2 is substantially different from its predecessor, but the original rumor suggested there would also be a standard, under-the-TV home console like good.

An Xbox operating system on other platforms could be an easier path, but Spencer has said in the past that companies like Sony and Nintendo aren't interested in hosting Xbox Game Pass on the platform.

For now, we'll have to wait until Thursday to see the next steps in Xbox's changing approach, whether that involves a new console or not.

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