Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Microsoft Handheld Gaming Device

Kikizo recently interviewed Microsoft's corporate VP Shane Kim wherein the prospect of a portable system was alluded to. This has raised rumors of a M$ handheld spreading like wildfire all over the internet yet again. This rumor has come up almost every six months since the launch of the original Xbox like clockwork. I personally can't see it even being remotely successful if they did decide to do so.

In a market completely dominated by Nintendo with the DS and the Sony PSP barely hanging on, I don't see it being a good business decision. Microsoft is not a company known for making bad (provided you discount BOB and Vista) business decisions. To date Nintendo has sold over 106 million units with the DS, and it still shows no signs of slowing down. Sony has sold a paltry 48 million PSP's by comparison. To put these numbers in perspective there have been 51 million Wii's sold, 31 million 360's and 22 million PS3's. Although there is a large market for portables, M$ would be quite the late comer and have to do something really special to stand out.

The only thing that I can see up Microsoft's sleeve is Live and it's associated services. Both of it's competitors are capable of wireless online gaming, but if the console world is any indication, nobody does it better than M$. That is about all I think that could potentially put them in the hunt should they decide to enter the fray. Though they would also be forced to skew to a younger clientele as that's the largest audience for these devices, which again, is dominated by Nintendo.

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