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Xbox One's Redesigned $100 Million Controller

by Nicholas Holden (Holden ZA)  Posted Tuesday, August 13, 2013 11:46:36 AM


The Xbox One controller has had over 40 new design changes from its predecessor on the Xbox 360, and it cost Microsoft a whopping $100 million. Today we are taking a look at some of those changes as well as discussing some of the potential of this high spec controller. 

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One of the first assumptions that you are lead to when looking at the new Xbox controller is that it looks extremely similar to the old one. There are, however, some things that you may overlook at first glance. In a video recently released, Microsoft's head of Xbox accessories Zulfi Alam teams up with the Director of Programming, Major Nelson, to take a look at exactly what changes have been made to the new controller. 

The Xbox One controller has had a complete overhaul by introducing new features as well as making significant changes to the familiar design elements of the control. 

Battery Door Integration

Noted as one of the most significant changes to the wireless controller is the battery door that is located at the back of the device. The once protruding compartment on the Xbox 360 controller has now been made completely flat on the Xbox One controller. This has been done to enhance the overall feel and to give the resting fingers a more comfortable space.


Screws Removal 

The screw holes on the back of the controller have been completely removed and changed to a cleaner fit. This means that the controller will have a sleek fit with no real opening. This will allow for less dirt/dust build up inside, a factor that has in the past been frustrating for some gamers. 

Thumb Sticks 

There have been several changes to the thumb sticks. One of the most significant changes, in my opinion, is the effort to make the thumb stick more durable. I have several Xbox 360 controllers where the top of the thumb stick has been worn out over time, to the point where only the hard plastic remains. On the new Xbox One thumb sticks there will be a more durable casing that, according to Zulfi Alam will allow the controller to last for longer.


The thumb sticks dead zone has also been dramatically reduced to increase the accuracy of the controller. A dead-zone of a controller is a small area surrounding the analog stick's center position, in which the stick will not send any information to the console. 


The height of the D-pad has been reduced, this will cause less moments of hitting the top of the d-pad which is caused by moving the left thumb stick all the way to the bottom right. The d-pad has also been changed to a 'clean plus sign' shape, and require force to fire. The force to fire mechanic is just a fancy term to state that you will feel a tiny click when actually pushing down on the d-pad. 


There is one significant change to the triggers of the controller, the introduction of mini-rumble motors. You might be familiar with the traditional rumble motors that are used in the base of the Xbox 360 controller. These motors allow for feedback/vibration when a significant event happens in-game. 

In the Xbox One controller two more rumble motors have been placed underneath each one of the two triggers of the controller. These will be used to replicate the feel of detailed game events such as the abs breaks of a racing game, the pull of a trigger of a certain rifle and much more to follow. 

Micro USB

A micro USB has been placed in the front of the controller. This will be used as the wired option for the controller meaning that all the radio functionality of the controller will be switched off when the USB is connected. This function will be great for competitive events that traditionally require wired controllers. 


The Micro USB in front of the controller will be the universal connection, this means that you can use a standard cable to use the controller as a wired option. 

IR LED System

The Inferred LED system will allow for integration with the Kinect. This means that the Kinect will be able to pick up who is holding the controller in the room and sign them in as soon as the controller is picked up or if it changes hands.

The Xbox One controller has gone through a rigorous overhaul in attempts to make the prefect controller for its next generation console. In an interview with Kotaku Zulfi Alam even went into detail about how they extensively tested the controller with a speaker as well as, wait for it, a smell emitter. They thankfully landed on a controller that I believe stays true to the core of the Xbox brand.

What do you think of the Xbox One controller, will it be the best controller of the next generation of consoles? Let us know by commenting below or hitting us up on Facebook or Twitter. 

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd


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