“The success of the Switch is testament to the value of mobile gaming with physical controls.”
When Microsoft recently announced xCloud, they promised the ability to play proper Xbox One games on mobile devices and tablets, before later saying that the experience on xCloud would be on the same footing as actual console gaming. Microsoft also confirmed players would be able to use an actual controller. Now, it seems they’re working on a clip-on controller for this purpose for mobiles and tablets.
A research paper published by Microsoft details a proper controller that can be split into individually functioning parts that can be clipped on to the sides of devices. According to the research paper, both the left- and right-hand parts of the controller are individual Bluetooth low energy (BLE) devices, with each having their own BLE microcontrollers and batteries. The middle part, as you may have guessed, is a dock, which charges both sides of the controller when they’re connected to it. The research paper also mentions that the triggers of the controller are made using force-sensing resistive material, and are auto-calibrated.
If that sounds a great deal like what Nintendo have done with the Switch and its Joycons- well, you’re not wrong. In fact, Microsoft have straight up mentioned the Switch in the research paper, calling it a “testament to the value of mobile gaming with physical controls”. Other portable devices, like Sony’s PSP are also mentioned.
“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 research paper’s introduction reads. “The success of the Switch is testament to the value of mobile gaming with physical controls.”
Keep in mind that as it stands right now, this is only a prototype- Microsoft haven’t announced anything per se, and we don’t know if this will come to fruition, or even if it does, if it will be exactly like what this research paper describes. But it’s definitely encouraging, and I’d bet Microsoft goes through with it, especially given how committed they are to xCloud.
The research paper also has a few prototype images for the clip-on controller. You can view them below.