A new patent reveals Microsoft is working on a new type of Xbox controller, and it looks like the company has taken some inspiration from Nintendo and its new Joy-Con controllers. More specifically, Microsoft has filed a patent application for new removable game controllers that will be used for mobile devices, and presumably accompany Xbox's Project xCloud initiative, which is aiming to bring game streaming to a variety of devices.
The patent -- spotted by Windows Latest -- was actually filed all the way back in 2017 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but wasn't published until July 9, 2019. Accompanying the patent is numerous illustrations showing what the controller will -- roughly -- look like it if Microsoft ever brings the product to the market.
"A charging device for one or more input modules for a touch-screen device is described," reads the abstract of the patent. "The charging device comprises a charging mechanism and portions which are shaped to receive an input module."
There's more shared in the abstract, but it's a bunch of technical jargon. Basically, there's two separate controller parts that snap onto a display in a similar fashion to Nintendo's Joy-Cons. And like the Joy-Cons, little to none of the display is covered up. And as you would expect, the controllers can be connected directly or wirelessly.
“The inputs are mapped to software running on the touch-screen computing device and where the touch-screen device is a peripheral (i.e. a touch-screen peripheral device) for a computing device (e.g. a touch-sensitive display for a desktop computer), the inputs are mapped to software running on that computing device,” reads one part of the patent."
As you will know, patents are often sat on. Companies like Microsoft file them all the time. Sometimes something comes from them, other times nothing. That said, it's not very surprising to see Microsoft toying around with this with Project xCloud on the way and it pushing more and more into the mobile space between xCloud and and Game Pass.