Microsoft is experimenting with controllers for mobile gaming


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Research papers spotted by Windows Central outline Microsoft's ambition to bring Xbox-style controllers to phones and tablets. The prototype controllers would seek to solve the problem of touch controls for games. Moreover, Microsoft seems to be looking to capture a similar experience provided by Nintendo's Switch.

"As smartphones and tablets have become pervasive, so has mobile gaming. Not surprisingly, popular games for these platforms are focused on touchscreen-based interaction. However, many types of game are less well-suited to mobile devices," a Microsoft Research paper outlines.

"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" the paper continues.

Microsoft also seems to have patented designs in addition to its research. The patent and its associated drawings describe two rechargeable "input modules" that attach to a computing device (phone or tablet) and connect directly, or via wireless technologies.

Microsoft seems to have the high-end gamepad segment cornered with its Xbox Elite Controller already, so it'll be interesting to see what the company can do for mobile. Microsoft extending its controller expertise to phones and tablets may be a logical step, as it would compliment Microsoft's xCloud, which is set for an October preview.

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Posts: 3,351   +3,175
The biggest problem is that I've been promised a gaming controller since iPhone 4 - and I've switched phones several times since then.

I currently have an XS MAX 512GB and I have no idea what's coming next - but I'll have that too.

There is no design you can field that won't be obsolete a year from now - or that is one size fits all.

Developers solved this simply by having NO Physical Buttons and just using the display.

Unless Microsoft is willing to build their own handheld, the best I can suggest is some type of adjustable Joy Cons like SWITCH has.


Posts: 3,351   +3,175
This actually makes a lot of sense. Microsoft could see serious profits from this.

The one thing that's been missing from the smartphone market is STANDARDS.

Apple has standards - we all know exactly how their devices work and developers know exactly how to program for them. The same goes for Microsoft, SONY and Nintendo.

Imagine if Nintendo released "Joy Cons" for smartphones - or if SONY and Microsoft did the same thing - each with their companies design philosphy behind them.

Companies large enough to release these things, support them and sell them globally.

The reason the small startup companies don't succeed is because they don't have that kind of muscle and these smartphones are traded up annually.
We've had exactly these kinds of controllers for well over five years now. Does Microsoft live in a bubble or just hope that the rest of us do?
These kinds of controllers have been around for well over five years. They've also all sucked for well over five years. Microsoft knows how to make controllers. Finally we'll have a real mobile gamepad solution.

P.S. I have that iPega one. It's okay.. considering what's out there. But there are tons of problems with it. The analog sticks have very little resistance. Buttons are cheap and mushy. L2/R2 are not analog.
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Slappy McPhee

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We've had exactly these kinds of controllers for well over five years now. Does Microsoft live in a bubble or just hope that the rest of us do?

Just because something has been out there for a few years doesn't mean it is worth a damn. The ONLY reason why ipega is popular is because there hasn't been anything made with any real effort. As previous comments have said if MS, Sony, Nin were to actually use their designs and their design engineers it would blow things like the ipega out of the water since they typically have much better QA/QC processes. I have used the ipega units and have been pretty underwhelmed. Touch controls blow and who wants to chew up screen real estate with touch controls anyway?
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