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Microsoft could be helping turn your smartphone into an Xbox

Microsoft's Xcloud service is set to arrive this fall, bringing Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles to smartphones and other mobile devices via streaming. How will you control those games, though? We're starting to get an idea about that, thanks to a recent Microsoft patent filing.

This filing, dated July 9, 2019, appears to show a few different controller variations for smartphones and tablets. One looks akin to the Logitech and Moga pads created for the iPhone a few years back, placing full-sized buttons, pads and joysticks on either side of your smartphone display. Another — an admittedly smaller option — clips a d-pad to one side of your smartphone or tablet and two buttons to the other, and looks made for 2D side-scrollers and platformers more than anything else.

The image above (created by Yanko Design) is an artist's rendering of what the first controller might look like, and certainly has all the trappings of a standard Xbox One pad. Having used a Nintendo Switch, however, and seeing how far apart these sticks and buttons are, we have some real questions about how ergonomic this design is. How do you hold it, exactly? Can all of the inputs be reached without adjustments? It seems as though one might have to "claw" their thumbs in order to reach the joystick on the left side and the buttons on the right side, and because the Switch sometimes forces you to do the same, we can report that is not a comfortable thing to do.

Again, though, we're just judging that based on an artist's interpretation. Who knows: the final design could look much different. This is just a patent, after all.

It'll be interesting to see if Microsoft-branded accessories like these start rolling out with Project Xcloud, or if Microsoft will lean on third parties to kick things off. The prospect of having our Xbox One and Xbox 360 libraries on the go is exciting, but the act of playing them won't be all that fun without some solid hardware tagging in to help.

We'll keep you up to speed if we hear more about Microsoft's Xcloud or any related accessories.