It amazes me how out of touch with reality the Xbox team is. Six years after designing a console that was so buggy and unreliable it required $1.2 billion in warranty repairs, the company finally got it right with the Xbox 360 S, which is everything the original should have been: Quiet and reliable. It abandoned its temporary foray into Apple white and returned to the Darth Vader black design of the first Xbox, recoloring its 360 accessories to match. And then this week Microsoft announced a new Xbox 360 controller, featuring a "transforming" directional pad (d-pad), which is much less dramatic than it sounds. (That said, the d-pad is widely considered the worst part of the current controller, which is otherwise very good.)

So what design did they use for this new controller? White to match the several million Xbox 360s out there? Or black to match the new Xbox 360 S?

Neither. Instead, the new controller is matte silver. So it doesn't match anything. It won't look good no matter where you use it. Furthermore, it has gray X, Y, A, and B buttons instead of the normal colors, which are matched to onscreen controls. Ergh.

And you can't just buy the controller. You must buy it as part of a new Play & Charge Kit, for $65(!!).

These guys are out of touch. And it's the only thing consistent about them. It's getting old.

Speaking of old, here's the post from Major Nelson, who apparently picked up a bowling alley moniker instead of using his real name.

We’ve just made the Xbox 360 Wireless controller even better with a brand new version that includes a transforming D-pad.  The engineers have come up with an ingenious solution with a d-pad that can go from a plus to a disc with the twist of the wrist.

From this:

To this:

In addition to the new d-pad, the matte silver controller also features concave analog sticks and gray A,B,X,Y buttons for added style. 

The controller will only be available with the new Play & Charge Kit that will launch on November 9th for US $64.99.

On top of the undeserved Xbox Live price hike, you have to think these guys are milking their best customers. It just doesn't make sense. This controller should ship with the Xbox 360 S, and should be available in both black and white.