One week after its impassioned defense of the controversial design of the coming Xbox One entertainment console, Microsoft has detailed the improvements it is adding to the Xbox One wireless controller as well. However, this one has met with little resistance from gamers: The Xbox One controller looks like an evolved and improved version of the 360 controller, which is already excellent.
Check out Defending the Design of the Xbox One if you’re not familiar with the issues surrounding the Xbox One console design.
And now, relax: The Xbox One controller looks great.
“The Xbox One controller is instantly familiar to anyone who has used the tried-and-true Xbox 360 controller, and introduces more than 40 technology innovations that make it more immersive, precise and comfortable,” a new post at the official Xbox Wire blog notes. “Some innovations are small. Others are substantial.”
According to the Xbox team, the Xbox One controller includes a ton of changes. Here are the ones that stand out to me:
Impulse triggers. The Xbox One controller includes four vibration motors—a small one behind each trigger that adds precise haptic feedback to the fingertips, and a larger one in each grip for larger rumbles. Microsoft says these triggers provide “in-game directionality” instead of just a general rumble. I’m not a fan of rumble, so we’ll see how that works.
Higher quality headset audio. The controller sends and receives higher fidelity audio in communication headsets, providing dramatic audio improvements which Microsoft claims can be clearer than talking on a phone.
Improved thumbsticks. The controller thumbsticks are smaller than before and outlined with a knurled texture for better grip. They’re also less stiff, requiring 25 percent less force to move, and have a reduced center dead zone.
New D-pad. Instead of improving the old Xbox 360 D-pad design, Microsoft has replaced it with a new design that delivers more precision and tactile feedback.
A, B, X and Y buttons. The primary buttons are lower on the controller with tighter spacing, for faster transitions. There’s a premium new look, which Microsoft credits to athree-step manufacturing process.
Xbox button. The size and placement of the Xbox button has changed so the view and menu buttons are more accessible.
Triggers and bumpers. The triggers and bumpers are now angled for better performance and comfort. And they require a lighter pull, for easier and more precise action.
Internal battery cavity. The AA battery compartment is built into the interior of the controller, providing more room for your fingers of the controller. You can now make the controller wired by plugging it into your console with a mini USB cable. (Similar to how the PS3 controller works today, though doing so won’t charge the Xbox One controller’s AA batteries.)
Even with all these changes, the Xbox One controller is apparently quite familiar feeling if you’re used to the Xbox 360 controller, with similar contours, heft and proportions. I can’t wait to take it for a spin.