"I think about those handheld PCs, almost extensions of my Xbox console... We're significantly bigger than when Xbox started 20 years ago. It's our job to keep up with all that," says Phil Spencer who has been traveling with his Legion Go

Lenovo Legion Go with Xbox Logo
(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Our own Jez Corden conducted an exclusive interview with Xbox CEO Phil Spencer.
  • During the interview, Spencer talked about gaming handhelds and how they fit into Xbox's future plans. 
  • Spencer went on to say that he's been traveling with his Lenovo Legion Go and that he considers "those handheld PCs, almost extensions of my Xbox console."
  • The Lenovo Legion Go recently released and is a Windows 11 gaming handheld with a large 8.8-inch 144Hz screen and an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor. 

My Windows Central colleague, Jez Corden, recently conducted an exclusive interview with Xbox CEO Phil Spencer in which they discussed the future of the gaming company as well as its plans for innovation. 

This lead to a discussion about PC gaming handhelds such as Lenovo Legion Go, ASUS ROG Ally, and Steam Deck which have been gaining in popularity, especially over the last year. To this, Spencer stated that he currently has his Legion Go with him and that he sees PC handhelds as "almost extensions of my Xbox console."

Phil Spencer at the Xbox Games Showcase.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

"I appreciate the mention of the Xbox app, and the work Ashley McKissick and the team put together with the launch with compact mode, to make it more usable on those devices," Spencer said. "I'm travelling right now, I have my Lenovo Legion Go with me, which is fantastic. I think about those handheld PCs, almost extensions of my Xbox console. 

We've been pushing for cross play, cross save, cross progression, for so long. To see when I pick up a game, that my progress on my console shows up on this handheld in a native way — it's not just cloud streaming. And I can play on the airplane and or play when I'm disconnected. I think that's vitally important to where we're trying to go. 

I think a lot about product entitlement, and we have Xbox Play Anywhere. Xbox Play Anywhere has been a long term part of our strategy, though I don't think we've made as much progress as maybe we could have over the years that's been out. But as I see these handheld PCs come along, I think things like playing anywhere, and my ability to keep my games library with me and allowing me to play those on different devices, including cloud streamed at some point. We're looking at the ability to allow you to stream the games that you own."

It's very clear from Spencer's comments that PC gaming handhelds will be something Xbox keeps in mind going forward. 

ROG Ally and Legion Go are both excellent Windows 11 PC gaming handhelds.  (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

Later in the interview, Spencer once again brought up gaming handhelds when Corden asked him about the future of Xbox Cloud Gaming, explaining that Xbox wants to "keep up" with the way that "gamers are embracing different devices" to play Xbox games and services with.

"We're also looking about what it means to stream PC games," he said, "we think that's an important part of our future in that space. I'm very bullish on where we can go with cloud, but it doesn't diminish the local run time experience that we want to have on Xbox consoles and Windows PCs. Every one of those games people want to stream, people also want to play locally. We have to build the tools for developers in order to build both. 

These are all things where our gamers are embracing different devices to play their library of games — to take their gaming experiences with them. I want Xbox to be a brand, that shows up on our Xbox app, but also while making sure our games are compatible with Steam Deck, ROG Ally, Legion Go, and while making sure they are great on our Xbox console line up. Yes, I think it does mean that our focus is more broad than it has been. We're significantly bigger than when Xbox started 20 years ago. It's our job to keep up with all that."

Windows Central's take 

Xbox with Phil Spencer as CEO has really positioned itself to be a major player in the rising PC gaming handheld space thanks to services like Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming. It's not just the fact that these services exist, but specifically, the fact that Xbox has attempted to be so accommodating on various platforms that really is the clincher. 

I was one of the people who immediately got in line when the Steam Deck was announced and ever since then, I've been able to check out every major PC gaming handheld on the market. As you can see from my Legion Go review and my ROG Ally review, these devices are both impressive ways to keep playing your games on the go. Even Spencer himself is traveling with the Legion Go and if that doesn't showcase the growing market for these portable gaming systems then I don't know what does. 

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's gaming editors with a focus on gaming handhelds, PC gaming, and laptops. When she isn't checking out the latest games on Xbox Game Pass, PC, ROG Ally, or Steam Deck; she can be found digital drawing with a Wacom tablet. She's written thousands of game guides, previews, features, and hardware reviews over the last few years. If you need information about anything gaming-related, her articles can help you out. She also loves testing game accessories and any new tech on the market. You can follow her @rrspear on X (formerly Twitter).

  • fjtorres5591
    Streaming PC games isn't about replacing console versions but about game preservation; bringing older games to new players.
    Exhibit A: Fallout.
    Exhibit B: Elder Scrolls
    Exhibit C: pretty much every great game from the 90's.

    Get cracking, Mr Spencer!