Microsoft is reportedly making Xbox controllers for both mobile phones and tablets.
The report comes way of Microsoft Central, and reveals that to accompany its "console quality" streaming to phones and tablets initiative, dubbed Project xCloud, it won't be relying on touch controls, but rather will make its own Xbox-esq controllers specifically for mobile gaming. Or, this is at least what it seems like it's doing via some newly surfaced research papers.
The research papers note that while mobile gaming is steadily growing into a massive marketplace, not every game is suitable for touch controllers. Meanwhile, the success of Sony's PSP, and more recently the Nintendo Switch, shows there is a demand for circumventing touch-based controllers and offering a mobile game experience with console gaming controls.
"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. Despite systems like AdaptControl which can adapt to the 'drift' typically occurring when using virtual on-screen controls, touchbased emulations of traditional gaming controls like Dpads, buttons & joysticks are often unsatisfactory.
"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. A number of cheaper products allow a smartphone to be clipped into or onto a modified handheld gaming controller; these include the ION iCade mobile, the GameCase, the GameVice and products from Moga. However, the fixed form of these accessories means they are bulky and inflexible."
Apparently, work on the controllers via prototyping began back in 2014, but has resurfaced thanks to the success of the Switch.
Whether we will see these products -- or something similar to them -- come to the market anytime soon, who knows. But with Microsoft really pushing the Project xCloud, it seems inevitable that it will bring to market controllers for mobile phones. For now though, we will have to wait and see.