Microsoft wants to know which gaming handhelds you're using and if you think you'll buy another one within the next five years — are we getting an Xbox handheld soon?

Lenovo Legion Go with Xbox Logo

The new Lenovo Legion Go Windows gaming handheld.

(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft emailed out a seven-minute survey that asks questions about gaming handhelds. 
  • The survey asks questions such as — what motivated you to get a gaming handheld?, What features do you like most about it?, and do you plan on buying another gaming handheld in the next three to five years?
  • There have been rumors that Microsoft is looking to create an Xbox gaming handheld, so it's possible this survey is gauging interest for such a device.

I woke up this morning and opened my emails to find that Microsoft had sent me a survey that asks questions about gaming handhelds. If you've been paying attention, then you know that an Xbox gaming handheld is likely in the works, but nothing has been announced as yet. Back in December, Phil Spencer talked about Xbox's relationship to gaming handhelds and even revealed that he'd been traveling with the Lenovo Legion Go. Some speculated he was studying the gaming handheld to see how well Game Pass runs on it in order to consider a similar device for Microsoft itself.

But now, the fact that Microsoft has sent out this gaming handheld survey conveys to me that the company is gathering info to gauge interest in an Xbox gaming handheld. The survey also seems to be trying to figure out what features should be prioritized for such a device. There's steep competition out there between the Steam Deck, ROG Ally, and previously mentioned Legion Go so it makes sense Microsoft would want to get as much info as possible before producing anything.

Microsoft gaming handheld survey questions show the company is gauging interest for a new device

So what exactly does the Microsoft gaming handheld survey ask? I encountered 28 pages of questions when filling out the seven-minute survey. It started out with the usual base demographic info, asking for my age and gender. After that, I was asked what devices I own and use (laptop, desktop, tablet, gaming handheld), what OS I run on my devices (Windows/Linux, of course), which gaming consoles I've used in the last 12 months (Xbox Series X obvs), if I have any Xbox Game Pass memberships (yeah), and which gaming handhelds I own and use (ROG Ally, Legion Go, and Steam Deck).

Here's where the questions really started diving into gaming handhelds. I was asked if I specifically use Xbox Game Pass on any of my gaming handhelds (of course), how often I use my gaming handheld compared to my console or computer (uh... a lot), and how important it is for my gaming handheld to be able to stream cloud games... cough Xbox Game Pass cough.

After this barrage of questions, I was asked to write about my personal gaming handheld story. What had motivated me to buy a handheld gaming PC? Just my general tech nerdiness, really. Where did I go to learn info about the device I eventually bought? I did the research myself and wrote about it here at Windows Central 😉. What kind of experience did I hope to create with a gaming handheld. Needless to say, I ended up writing three to four decently long paragraphs explaining myself. The questions that followed after this, seemed to be targeted at getting detailed information about my personal experience.

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

Do I identify as a gamer? I always feel like such a poser when answering that question... but yeah, I guess so. What do I specifically call my gaming handheld? I call them by their names, of course — Jim, Timmy, and Bob. But seriously, I just call them ROG Ally, Steam Deck, and Legion Go. Why would anyone call them "Windows gaming handheld" or "PC gaming handheld" when these devices have distinctive names already?

Further questions seemed to be asking if I thought my gaming handheld took over my desire to use my gaming laptop or Xbox Series X console. For instance, the survey asked: Is my gaming handheld my primary gaming device or is it secondary to a console or computer? For me, each device honestly just serves different needs and I use them pretty equally. 

I was also asked how satisfied I am by my gaming handheld and was even asked to write out what I find so enjoyable about using it. As you can guess, I wrote another few paragraphs talking about being able to play comfortably in bed before falling asleep or being able to play on the couch while my husband plays Xbox on our TV. 

This is where the survey seemed to be gauging whether or not it was worth it for Microsoft to invest time and energy into an Xbox gaming handheld. I was asked if I think my usage of gaming handhelds will increase, stay the same, or decrease in the future (I'm sure it will increase). A follow-up question seemed very telling and asked how likely I am to use a new gaming handheld within the next three to five years (at the rate I'm going, very likely). This last question tells me that Microsoft is interested in entering the gaming handheld market in the near future, but wants to make sure it produces something people will actually want to use. After all, there's already a lot of competition out there between the Steam Deck, ROG Ally, and Legion Go. If Xbox wants to get into the PC gaming handheld market, it needs to offer a compelling device with features that draw users to it.

The survey shifted tones at the very end by asking if gaming handhelds have influenced my likelihood of purchasing an Xbox console or Windows PC going forward. My answer — not really, I use all three devices for different reasons. But if Xbox did create its own Xbox gaming handheld then I might stop using my Xbox console or at least use it less. 

I love my Steam Deck, but ROG Ally is my gaming handheld of choice.  (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

This was then followed by a very interesting final question — thinking back to when you purchased your handheld gaming PC, would you say your overall feelings toward Xbox and Windows have improved over time, stayed the same, or gotten worse over time? What a loaded question, right? As an Xbox Series X owner, I've been a bit disappointed in the caliber of games that the console has received lately, but I also know that every gaming company has ups and downs over the years. We definitely seem to be in a bit of down in terms of console exclusives. But at the same time, Xbox has a bunch of best-sellers on the PlayStation Store and Xbox Game Pass has proven to be one of the very best gaming services available today. I basically decided to say my opinion was still the same.

Now here I am thinking about all of the questions from that survey and wondering what people are saying in their own surveys. It seems very likely that an Xbox gaming handheld or maybe even a Microsoft gaming handheld could launch within the next five years. If it does, I know I'll be very excited to check it out, especially if it improves upon the features of the biggest gaming handhelds already on the market.

Rebecca Spear
Editor and Reviewer

Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's editors and reviewers 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 articles with everything from editorials, reviews, previews, features, previews, 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).