Detachable controllers are an excellent feature of the Nintendo Switch and it seems that Microsoft may have decided a little while back that it needed to have a similar product plan in the works.
Via Windows Latest, Microsoft filed a patent in 2017 for a 'charging device for removable input modules' which has subsequently been published by USPTO this month. In it are details of Microsoft's basic plans to develop its own removable game controllers.
As you can see below, Microsoft has been thinking about how to manufacture some controllers that easily attach and detach from touch screen devices such as tablets and mobile phones.
"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 the patent. "Subsequently (e.g. when the user has finished interacting with the touch-screen device or when the module is not needed), the module can be detached from the touch-screen device 108 and stored until it is next used by the user (e.g. connected to the same touch-screen device or a different touch-screen device)."
The proposed controllers would charge separately, presumably via a USB connection.
Would you buy these? What kind of price would you be willing to pay? These questions and more are likely to be in a consumer questionnaire on a Microsoft database somewhere as we speak.
Wireframe #17 is out now.