It's just a matter of time before a mobile Xbox device becomes available. That's the word from Microsoft corporate vice president Shane Kim, who dropped the bombshell in an interview with game-enthusiast site Kikizo.
Kim, a major player in Microsoft's Xbox program, made the statement toward the end of a wide-ranging chat with Kikizo's Adam Doree, who asked how the Xbox brand might extend into the mobile-gaming arena.
Kim explained that while Microsoft has focused lately on the "living room experience," its recent efforts do segue logically into mobile gaming. These include the ability for users to buy and download Xbox 360 games via Xbox live; and Project Natal, a motion-sensing technology that lets you control video games and Xbox 360 menus with body movements rather than with a peripheral controller:
"For us, it's a matter of focusing on 'when', because if we chased after a mobile or handheld opportunity, we would not have the resources and ability to do things like... Project Natal. So we've chosen to focus on the living room experience from a hardware standpoint, if you will, but we're building a service in Live that will... will extend to other platforms. No question about it."
"So the question will be, how do we enter into that market - do we do our own device, do we create our own phone - that's a question for the company itself - do we continue to go down the Windows Mobile path which is that path that we're on today, etcetera, etcetera."
With the emergence of the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch as portable gaming systems, the massive success of the Nintendo DS, and ongoing rumors of Sony's intentions to launch a PlayStation phone, it's no shocker than Microsoft has major plans for a mobile Xbox platform.
But if Microsoft chooses to build its own Xbox portable, how might the device differ from the upcoming Zune HD, Redmond's answer to the iPod touch? From a competitive standpoint, the Zune HD should be able to play games, and not just Solitaire and Minesweeper.
Other reports have Xbox 360 games migrating to a variety of cell phones, so Microsoft take that path rather than building its own Xbox-branded hardware devices.