Microsoft might be making Xbox-style grip controllers for smartphones and tablets. Recently released research documents have revealed that Microsoft’s controllers will be able to clip on to the bezels of mobile devices.

The research documents were first disclosed publicly by Windows Central. The research was conducted sometime between 2012 and 2014. Microsoft’s plan with this research is to create a mobile gaming controller that can be used as a standalone controller or for a variety of mobile devices. Microsoft has even built some prototypes made out of foam and made 3D prints based on concept renders.

“As smartphones and tablets have become pervasive, so has mobile gaming. Not surprisingly, popular games for these platforms are focused on touchscreen-based interaction. However, many types of game are less well-suited to mobile devices,” Microsoft stated in the leaked document.

“Mobile gaming devices like the Sony PlayStation Portable and Nintendo's DS and Switch are dedicated mobile gaming platforms which overcome these limitations via physical controls. The success of the Switch is testament to the value of mobile gaming with physical controls. A number of cheaper products allow a smartphone to be clipped into or onto a modified handheld gaming controller; these include the ION iCade mobile, the GameCase, the GameVice and products from Moga. However, the fixed form of these accessories means they are bulky and inflexible.”

The prototypes that Microsoft created have grips can be attached to the bezels of a smartphone or a tablet. The grips are fully adjustable and can be used on a device in portrait or landscape orientation, as pointed out by IGN. There’s also an image showing the two grips being attached to a single module to make it look like a traditional controller that accommodates wired charging.

The existence of the research and the prototypes doesn’t necessarily mean that this Xbox-style mobile controller will become a real product. However, it does look like that Microsoft is seriously exploring the possibility of releasing one just in case. This also makes a lot of sense for the company considering that it has already announced its new Project xCloud game streaming platform.

Project xCloud will allow gamers to play Xbox titles like “Halo” and “Sea of Thieves” on their smartphones and tablets. Microsoft is leveraging its Azure cloud system to make this possible. Project xCloud is currently in private testing and will enter public testing sometime in 2019.

A patent shows Microsoft's plan to turn smartphones into handheld Xbox consoles. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)