Microsoft Rumored to Dive into Gaming Innovation with Switch-Style Controllers
Microsoft may be developing a detachable game controller reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch’s popular Joy-Cons, newly surfaced patent documents reveal. While the concept echoes Nintendo’s split joypad design, the underlying technology hints at Microsoft’s own take on highly portable gaming.
Sony and Nintendo have long pioneered handheld systems. But Microsoft has never pursued a traditional portable Xbox console in over 22 years in the hardware business. Recently however, Microsoft’s cloud gaming efforts have enabled smartphone and tablet gaming on the go.
This patent suggests Microsoft is exploring ways to enhance that portable experience with platform-agnostic controllers. The illustrated two-part gamepad looks similar to Joy-Cons, but uses a self-adjusting grip mechanism to attach to devices of varying sizes.
In some diagrams, the controllers combine with a tablet in a setup resembling Sony’s PlayStation Portable. Other illustrations show them clipped to a smartphone in portrait or landscape orientation, including a foldable phone like the Galaxy Z Fold.
While the patent focuses on design, Microsoft would likely utilize Bluetooth for wireless connectivity. This isn’t their first exploration of Joy-Con-style concepts either – Microsoft has experimented with similar detachable controllers since at least 2019.
Of course, most patents don’t become consumer products. Microsoft’s R&D division filed over 1,800 patents in 2022 alone. So commercial availability of this exact detachable controller seems uncertain.
But the patent shows Microsoft recognizes the appeal of portable, modular gaming. While the Xbox maker has no traditional handheld device, they continue seeking innovative ways to deliver gaming experiences on the go. If this Joy-Con-inspired split gamepad moves beyond the patent phase, it could provide Xbox cloud gaming users a handy new option for gaming on tablets and phones.