The success of Valve's Steam Deck device is starting to spawn a whole new market for handheld gaming PCs, and Microsoft is seemingly taking notice. A leaked Microsoft 'Hackathon' video (showcasing an internal project where employees pitch and test ideas) has revealed that 'Windows Handheld Mode' is one such project in the works.
Now, this is all just internal employee spitballing at the moment and has by no means been properly greenlit by Microsoft. However, this way of gaming through Windows 11 is seemingly being prototyped at the Xbox company, as showcased in the video up above.
The project seems to be focusing mostly on building a streamlined, controller-friendly version of Windows 11 that could work on something like Steam Deck. Valve's machine currently runs on a custom 'Steam OS' version of Linux, with Windows not officially supported at the time of writing (although it can be installed by the user).
Whether this actually launches in an official capacity remains to be seen, but we'd love to see something like it happen. Such a move could lead to PC Game Pass working natively on Steam Deck, and given how good that looks even in an unofficial capacity, it'd be a very exciting prospect as some kind of official app by Microsoft.
Could this lead to a 'portable Xbox' type of experience? Maybe not quite, but it'd certainly be as close as we've ever got to a device like that, and it might be as close as we'll ever get in future.