If you're an Xbox gamer who's been hoping for an alternative handheld gaming experience to the Nintendo Switch, you might be in luck. That's if a patent application filed by Microsoft on 9 July 2019 turns from sketches into a physical device.
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According to the patent application, the Xbox handheld attaches to, and charges, an existing touchscreen device, like a smartphone. The joypads are clipped to the phone case in a bid to offer more immersive, console-like gaming. It's unclear whether the console would play mobile games, or streaming console-quality titles from Xbox Live.
Sarang Sheth, editor of Yanko Design and one of our favourite concept designers, has created a series of slick renders based on those patent applications. He's given the device the name Xbox Cloud.
The renders show a controller in two halves, which clip to either side of a smartphone, turning it into a handheld gaming console, featuring all the buttons you'd find on original Xbox controllers including the left and right triggers on the top.
The way the controller halves clip to the sides of the phone means that they don't overlap the edges of the screen, and Sarang says that they would communicate with the handset via Wi-Fi. They also come with built-in stereo speakers, and a headphone jack for that full immersive audio experience. Oh, and they support wireless headphones, too.
In his summary of the concepts, Sarang adds that the controller will feature independent batteries which are removable and therefore switchable for prolonged bouts of gaming without any recharging necessary. When it does need charging, the Xbox Cloud will charge in its accompanying docking station. In terms of colours, Sarang envisages a choice of black, white and grey.
Will this handheld Xbox ever see the light of day? Who knows, as companies routinely apply for patents that never become real products, but perhaps Microsoft wants a piece of the handheld gaming market currently dominated by Nintendo – or perhaps it's heard whispers of a new Sony PSP on the horizon – and now it's readying its response.
Check out more of the Xbox Cloud renders over at Yanko Design.