Microsoft is working with partners to release a series of branded devices designed for mobile gaming. They'll be targetted at enabling Project xCloud, the company's game streaming service which is currently in preview.
Its first product will be the MOGA Mobile Gaming Clip for Xbox Wireless Controllers. With it, gamers can secure their phones to their controller with an adjustable clip. Fitting phones up to 3.12″ wide, it lets gamers position their device at a variety of angles and orientations.
The Clip is available to pre-order now from the Microsoft Store, and more products are coming. Xbox is talking with Razer, PowerA, Gamevice, HORI, and 8bitDo about ideas for the service. These could take the form of “mobile-first controllers and other hardware optimized for phones and tablets”.
A new method of control could be particularly important for xCloud when it comes to portability. Consoles like the Nintendo Switch include separated left and right controllers that clip to the side of the device. This increases portability over a bulky Xbox controller, but it could be difficult to accommodate the wide range of Android devices.
Aside from control, mobile gaming has several other potential issues. While it's not a big deal if a dedicated console runs out of battery, phones are people's primary communication device. It's possible we'll see some Xbox-branded power banks or even keyboard/mouse solutions.
While it waits for partners, Microsoft will be improving its existing Bluetooth controller. It says performance across devices isn't always comparable, and that it will continue its partnership with Apple to support the controller in iOS.
In the meantime, the gaming clip is a reasonable $14.99 and is also available at some US and UK retailers. if you're one of the lucky few that got into the xCloud preview, it could be worth a look.