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Microsoft Reveals Plans to Turn Smartphone into Hand-Held Xbox

Possible features for the controllers include built-in speakers, a headphone jack, and wireless headphones support

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While there is no specific mention of the Xbox in the application, a couple of the drawings feature all-too-familiar buttons and symbols. Pixabay

In an apparent bid to take on the popular Nintendo gaming Switch, a new Microsoft patent has revealed plans for controllers that would turn your smartphone into hand-held Xbox.

According to a report in Digital Trends late Sunday, the patent shows “a charging device for removable input modules. While there is no specific mention of the Xbox in the application, a couple of the drawings feature all-too-familiar buttons and symbols”.

Possible features for the controllers include built-in speakers, a headphone jack, and wireless headphones support.

The detachable controllers in the patent looks similar to the Nintendo Switch but a key difference with Nintendo’s hybrid console is that Microsoft controllers would “focus on enabling the Project xCloud video game streaming service on mobile phones”.

Microsoft, Smartphone, Xbox
In an apparent bid to take on the popular Nintendo gaming Switch, a new Microsoft patent has revealed plans for controllers that would turn your smartphone into hand-held Xbox. Pixabay

According to Microsoft, Project xCloud’s state-of-the-art global game-streaming technology will offer you the freedom to play on the device you want without being locked to a particular device.

Similar to Google Stadia, Project xCloud would allow players to stream console and PC games to their devices through Cloud.

“We are developing a new, game-specific touch input overlay that provides maximum response in a minimal footprint for players who choose to play without a controller,” Microsoft said last year.

Microsoft has nearly 40 years of gaming experience starting with PC and is well equipped to address the complex challenge of cloud game-streaming.

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With data centers in 54 Azure regions and services available in 140 countries, Azure has the scale to deliver a great gaming experience for players worldwide, regardless of their location.

According to the report, the controllers featured in the Microsoft patent may make Project xCloud more attractive to smartphone gamers.

Sarang Sheth, a designer from Yanko Designs, has mocked up 3D concepts of the device using the patent which was filed last month.

“It’s pretty certain that Microsoft isn’t just taking on Google’s Stadia with its own Cloud-based gaming service, but is also going gung-ho into the hardware side of things too, with detachable controllers you can clip to your phone for the most portable Xbox experience ever imagined!” Sheth wrote in a blog post.

Microsoft, Smartphone, Xbox
According to a report in Digital Trends late Sunday, the patent shows “a charging device for removable input modules. Pixabay

Two controller-halves clip onto either side of the phone, turning it into a handheld gaming console, complete with everything you need to play Xbox’s signature titles.

“Designed for immersive landscape gaming, the controllers come with two flippers that hold your phone gently but securely from the sides, while memory-foam pads make sure they don’t press any buttons,” Sheth added.

These side flippers are ideal for phones with no bezel, because this makes sure the controllers don’t overlap the screen from the left or right.

“Both halves of the controllers connect to your phone via Wi-Fi to deliver a seamless gaming experience that’s absolutely lag-free. They even come with their own speaker units that deliver gameplay audio in stereo,” he wrote.

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The Xbox Cloud controllers have their own headphone jack too, with support for wireless headsets and earphones as well. (IANS)

Next Story

Microsoft Contractors can Listen to Xbox Players’ Chats: Report

Apple, Google and Amazon recently suspended human review of user audio recordings after reports said the companies used third-party contractors to listen to users’ voice recordings

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Do you have a Microsoft video gaming console Xbox at home? It is possible that third-party contractors working for the tech giant are listening to your living room talks.

After revealing that contractors listened to sensitive and personal conversations of users via Skype and virtual assistant Cortana — which Microsoft has admitted — Motherboard now claims the third-party vendors working for the company also “listened to the audio of Xbox users speaking in their homes in order to improve the console’s voice command features”.

The audio — mostly of children as they played video games — was captured by Xbox consoles “by mistake”, the contractors were quoted as saying.

“Xbox commands came up first as a bit of an outlier and then became about half of what we did before becoming most of what we did,” one former contractor was quoted as saying.

The contractors worked on Xbox audio data from 2014 to 2015 before Cortana was implemented into the console in 2016.

“Listening continued as the Xbox moved from using Kinect for voice commands over to Cortana,” the report said on Wednesday.

Microsoft last month announced it plans to remove Cortana from the Xbox but the gaming console can still be controlled through voice commands with either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant on external smart speakers.

microsoft, xbox
FILE – A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

The company said in a statement: “We’ve long been clear that we collect voice data to improve voice-enabled services and that this data is sometimes reviewed by vendors”.

Last week, Microsoft admitted that third-party contractors were listening to voice conversations on Skype and virtual assistant Cortana.

“We’ve updated our privacy statement and product FAQs to add greater clarity and will continue to examine further opportunities to improve,” the company said.

The updated privacy statement said that human review is used to help build, train and improve the accuracy of its Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems.

Microsoft has joined the likes of Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook who are in the dock for letting third-party contractors listen to users’ talks.

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Apple, Google and Amazon recently suspended human review of user audio recordings after reports said the companies used third-party contractors to listen to users’ voice recordings.

While Apple suspended the programme that let its virtual assistant ‘Siri’ listen to users’ recordings for “quality control”, Google stopped listening and transcribing Google Assistant recordings in Europe. (IANS)