- Microsoft is possibly developing detachable gaming controllers similar to the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons, according to one newly emerged design patent.
- The patented controllers are described as a platform-agnostic solution with a self-adjusting gripping mechanism allowing them to attach to various devices of different thicknesses. One of their patented applications looks remarkably similar to the PlayStation Portal handheld.
- If commercialized, this two-part gamepad would possibly be positioned as an extension of Microsoft’s cloud gaming technology that can turn any modern smartphone or tablet into a handheld gaming system.
Microsoft is possibly developing a pair of detachable gaming controllers not unlike the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons, some recently surfaced patent documentation reveals. Although the appearance of the newly emerged concept is reminiscent of Nintendo’s two-part gamepad, the underlying technology appears to hint at Microsoft brainstorming an indirect answer to the immensely popular PlayStation Portal handheld.
While both Sony and Nintendo have long experimented with portable systems, Microsoft has never pursued a traditional handheld console in over 22 years of making Xbox hardware. But the company’s recent foray into cloud gaming did yield plenty of adjacent solutions by turning virtually any modern smartphone and tablet into a handheld system capable of gaming on the go.
Microsoft Patent Shows Xbox Controller with LCD Display
A new Microsoft patent shows that an LCD screen design could be coming to future Xbox controllers to help players connect with devices.
Microsoft is now seemingly exploring ways to make this technology even more accessible by providing users with the option of using platform-agnostic gamepads. A pair of such detachable controllers akin to the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons surfaced in a patent for “adaptable input devices” that the tech giant secured in late December. The biggest difference between the actual Joy-Cons and Microsoft’s newly emerged concept is that the latter envisions a two-part controller equipped with a self-adjusting gripping mechanism that would allow it to cling to a wide range of devices of varying thicknesses.
Microsoft’s Joy-Con-Like Controller Concept
In some of their described applications, the two physical controllers are combined with a tablet into a solution that looks fairly similar to the PlayStation Portal. In others, the two-part device is attached to a smartphone in either portrait or landscape orientation. One of the illustrations accompanying the newly emerged patent even depicts the Joy-Con-style controllers in conjunction with a foldable phone that vaguely resembles the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series.
Microsoft Has Been Exploring Switch-Style Detachable Controllers For Years
Microsoft’s latest patent is largely design-oriented and hence makes no mention of the actual wireless technology that would be used for sending input signals to an attached device. Nevertheless, Bluetooth seems like an obvious choice for a solution of this sort. The concept itself is also not the first sign of the Xbox maker exploring detachable gamepads. On the contrary, Microsoft has been experimenting with Joy-Con-style controllers since at least 2019.
According to a recent Statista study, Microsoft’s R&D arm filed for over 1,800 patents in 2022 alone, and generally averages more than 1,500 such filings annually. Since the vast majority of those patents are yet to result in consumer-ready products, the chances of this particular concept being commercialized in the near future appear to be slim, at best.
Xbox Wireless Core Controller
The Xbox Wireless Core Controller features a modern design. This model offers improved comfort, enabling effortless control for extended gameplay sessions. The controller’s battery life is capable of reaching up to 40 hours before requiring a recharge.
Targeting accuracy is enhanced by the hybrid D-pad and textured grip found on the triggers, bumpers, and back-case of the controller. A 3.5mm audio headset jack is integrated into the design, allowing for the connection of any compatible headset.