Microsoft wants Zune HD to be a major player in handheld games

Details might be a bit sketchy, but Microsoft has today confessed that, yes, it wants in on the handheld gaming market.

After years sitting on the sidelines – despite much speculation – and watching as first Nintendo, then Sony and lastly its bitter rival Apple all marked their territories in portable games, the format-holder has told Develop that its new Zune media player will also play substantial games content.

It just won’t admit to when that strategy will come into play just yet.

Today, Microsoft confirmed the introduction later this year of the Zune HD, the latest in its line of media players. The device is billed as ‘the first portable media player with built-in HD Radio receiver, HD video output capabilities, OLED touch screen, wi-fi and an internet browser’.

For now, the device is a US-only product due for release in the autumn. Zune HD’s existence was confirmed as part of a new strategy that will see the Zune Marketplace’s video content available via the home console Xbox 360 Marketplace to users in Europe and North America.

Chris Stephenson, GM of consumer marketing for the TV, Video and Music Business at Microsoft told Develop: We are launching and today confirming a fourth device. It’s a hyper competitive product in the top end of the media player market."

Full story at Develop.

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