As spotted by Windows Latest, the patent titled ‘Charging device for removable input modules’ describes a device (image below) featuring “two removeable input modules which can be temporarily attached to a touch-screen device and which provide input controls”.
The patent brings to mind previously published Microsoft research into mobile gaming controllers conducted between 2012 and 2014 (prototypes pictured bottom).
The research paper in question reads: “Our prototype mobile gaming controller can take the form of a traditional controller, particularly useful for charging.
“The two wireless units may be removed from the charging dock and clipped to a mobile device such as a smartphone to support mobile gaming.”
Microsoft plans to launch a preview version of its Project xCloud game streaming service in October.
It will “open the world of Xbox to those who may not otherwise own traditional, dedicated gaming hardware”, Kareem Choudhry, CVP of gaming cloud at Microsoft, said of the platform in March.
“True console-quality gaming will become available on mobile devices, providing the two billion-plus gamers around the world a new gateway to previously console and PC exclusive content,” he added.
To illustrate the point, Microsoft used an Inside Xbox stream to demo Forza Horizon 4 running on xCloud hardware in a date centre, streamed to an Android phone attached to an Xbox One controller via Bluetooth.
While xCloud demos have to date shown users playing with a traditional Xbox controller attached to a phone, at the very least Microsoft is investigating alternative controller solutions for mobile games.
In May, the World Intellectual Property Office published a Microsoft patent for an Xbox pad featuring braille input and output.