Tencent making Windows gaming handheld: fake or real?

It seems like the popularity of Windows-based handheld gaming consoles like GPD Win 3 and AYA NEO has attracted bigger players; if news circulating online recently are to be believed. The news in question is that Tencent is thinking of entering this niche, yet popular market with a handheld gaming PC of its own. Is there any truth to this claim? Let’s take a closer look in this article!

To be more specific, what has been reported is that Tencent has obtained the patent for a “PC Video Game Console" in mid-March after submitting it back in October 2020. Users on Baidu shared the news and this was also picked up by analyst Daniel Ahmad who tweeted about it, making the report more widespread among Western readers. Those reports also share renders of the console from the patent, in which it bears a Nintendo Switch-inspired design. The face buttons and joysticks bear an asymmetric layout and the device also features a dedicated Windows and a keyboard button. However, the controllers will apparently not be detachable like the Switch’s Joy-Cons are.

The pictures also show a couple of ports on the underside of the handheld but the pictures aren’t clear enough to discern exactly which ports are present. But it looks like there is a headphone jack, a USB-C port, a mini-HDMI port and a USB 3.0 port. If the USB-C supports video output, it means that this device could theoretically support a Switch-styled dock to game on a bigger screen. But the min-HDMI port could also support this feature.

As for details on the screen size, device dimensions, weight and specs, these were not made available since it’s just a patent. And this is the key word here as a patent does not mean that we will actually see the device hit the market. In fact, Tencent reportedly patented the designs of several video game consoles since 2016. The same report notes that the company also obtained the patent of an even more Switch-looking device in August 2020. But none have come to fruition till now.

Moreover, several other Big Tech companies have displayed concepts of handheld gaming PCs. The Alienware UFO is a popular one which the AYA NEO bears some resemblance to. More recently, in January 2021, Lenovo shared its LaVie Mini concept, an 8" touchscreen Windows tablet of sorts with modular attachments which include Joy-Con-type controllers and a keyboard. However, these haven’t evolved past the concept stage.

So we cannot say definitively that Tencent is indeed planning to make a handheld gaming PC. But what such patents do indicate is that the company is interested in the concept and might invest in it in the future. We will have to wait for further developments to have a confirmation. In any case, would you like to see such a handheld gaming PC from Tencent?

- Written By Pranav Dhunnoo

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