Microsoft is very serious about the gaming business, and in addition to Project xCloud streaming service, it looks like the software giant has some other plans in mind to expand the Xbox brand.
One of the ways to do that could be an Xbox controller for mobile phones and tablets, and recent prototypes created by Microsoft Research provide us with a glimpse into how they could work.
Praising the recent success of the Nintendo Switch, the research documents show that Microsoft is exploring a controller which would technically split in half an attach to both sides of a phone or tablet.
This would basically convert the device into a gaming console with a hardware-based input method, thus eliminating the need for touch controls when playing games.
3D-printed prototypes ready
Drawings that have been published for the first prototypes were discovered by WindowsCentral, and by the looks of things, the idea was first developed in 2014. Microsoft, however, has accelerated efforts to make it happen recently, which could be a sign that there’s a good chance the phone controller could hit the market.
“Mobile gaming devices like the Sony PlayStation Portable and Nintendo's DS and Switch are dedicated mobile gaming platforms which overcome these limitations via physical controls. The success of the Switch is testament to the value of mobile gaming with physical controls,” Microsoft explains in its documents.
“A number of cheaper products allow a smartphone to be clipped into or onto a modified handheld gaming controller; these include the ION iCade mobile, the GameCase, the GameVice and products from Moga. However, the fixed form of these accessories means they are bulky and inflexible.”
Certainly, there’s more to discover on this new project, but Microsoft seems very committed to bringing it to the market. Without its own mobile platform, however, the controller would obviously be specifically aimed at Android and iPhone.