Microsoft Is Looking Into Xbox Controllers For Mobile Devices - Here's What It Could Look Like

These prototypes are largely influenced by the Switch's design for the Joy-cons.
Xbox Prototype Controller
A Microsoft research paper shows off possible designs for an Xbox controller built for mobile devices. Microsoft

Much has been said about the future of game streaming, and whether or not it will be the game changer people are hyping it to be once services like the Google Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud finally reach the market. There are a ton of differences between the two, but one that may hold the key to winning this digital battle lies entirely in a peripheral: the controller.

While the Stadia has developed its own proprietary controller that’s mainly just another regular controller, Microsoft is looking beyond that and into a market that’s growing under their very noses. Playing on a mobile device is popular nowadays, and it’s no surprise that a myriad of specialized controllers are made available in order to tear those fingers away from the touchscreen and into something that can give more tactile feedback. In a document on the Microsoft Research papers as reported by Windows Central, it appears that Microsoft themselves are looking into developing their own specialized controllers for mobile devices, which could solve the unintuitive control schemes offered by touchscreens.

Microsoft Prototype Controller
The research paper showing off the prototype controller design. Photo: Microsoft

As shown in the research paper, the controller is very much similar to an Xbox One controller in terms of button layouts. However, they’re on two separate halves that can be attached to either side of your mobile device. The grips can be removed as well, or replaced with other grips to find one that fits your hands properly. The two halves can also be connected, which would make it look and play more like a traditional controller.

If the concept sounds strangely familiar, then it’s because it’s supposed to be – the research paper mentions the design of the Nintendo Switch and its Joy-cons, hailing its success as a “testament to the value of mobile gaming with physical controls.” The paper also rightfully noted several early products on the market, including the ION iCade mobile, the GameCase, the GameVice and products from Moga. Most of these were born due to the craze of FortnitePUBG Mobile and other shooters for mobile devices, a trend which continues to this day.

These controllers could soon be the norm, if game streaming is to prevail. As a matter of fact, we could be seeing them sooner rather than later, as Microsoft has already patented designs very similar to the ones in the research paper. Color me interested, as if gaming on the Switch has shown me anything, using Joy-cons in either hand, even without motion controls, is a great way to play.

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