Xbox One is designed to be the best system for gamers, and its new controller is specifically created for gaming. 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.
The Xbox team meticulously analyzed the Xbox 360 controller for areas to innovate, and conducted 20 research studies around the world with more than 500 participants of all ages, genders and gaming proficiencies to validate every proposed improvement. Some innovations were small. Others were substantial. By the end, after 200 prototypes, the team was confident the culmination of their efforts was a controller that was still distinctly Xbox, but refined and improved.
The team, including Quintin Morris (Senior Product Designer), Jeremy Lees (Senior Electrical Engineer), Dave Nelson (Senior Firmware Lead Engineer), Bryon Ashley (Principle Program Manager) and Navin Kumar (Senior Product Marketing Manager) sat down with Xbox Wire to highlight just a handful of the improvements that fans can expect from the new generation Xbox controller.
Impulse Triggers – Xbox One’s Wireless Controller sports four vibration motors – a small one behind each trigger that adds precise haptic feedback to the fingertips, and a larger in each grip for large scale rumbles. This gives users a sense of in-game directionality and depth, creating rich, immersive experiences where gunshots, car crashes and explosions can come to life.
For example, in “Forza Motorsport 5,” Turn 10 Studios is using impulse triggers to provide players with precise feedback that enhances the racing experience. If your tires break traction from over-acceleration or if you drift on the gas pedal, the triggers emit very distinct vibrations. This is combined with the chassis rumble that conveys impacts, engine roar and driving over surface irregularities like cobblestone.
Higher Quality Headset Audio – The data transfer rate between the controller and console has been improved, allowing for higher fidelity audio in communication headsets. In-game chat over Xbox Live, according to the team, will be in many cases clearer than talking on a phone.
Revamped Thumbsticks – The thumbsticks are built for precision and comfort. They’re smaller and outlined with a knurled texture for better grip. Competitive gamers will be pleased to hear the sticks require 25 percent less force to move, allowing you to adjust your aim in a first-person shooter or execute a half-circle sweep in a fighting game faster and more accurately. The controller also uses advanced electronics that reduce thumbstick deadzone in the center.
Brand New D-Pad – The old Xbox 360 D-pad is replaced by a new design that pays homage to classic controllers and is architected to deliver more precision and tactile feedback for gaming. The D-pad’s cross shape is honed to provide accurate cardinal direction input, sweeping movements and combinations – important factors for sports and fighting games, and other experiences.
Buttons, Buttons, Buttons – The A, B, X and Y buttons are lower to the controller with tighter spacing, making the transition between each one smoother. A new, three-step manufacturing process gives these buttons a more premium look, as if the letters on them are suspended in 3-D space. The size and placement of the Xbox button has also changed so the view and menu buttons are more accessible.
Seamless Connectivity – Each controller uses a combination of invisible reflective technology and LEDs to send a patterned infrared signal to your console and Kinect sensor. Not only does this make pairing the devices seamless, but it enables Kinect to associate the controller with whoever is holding it. This introduces innovative experiences, such as player switching, where a split screen display can swap positions on the TV if users change seats on the couch.
Low Power State – If you’re watching a movie or need to step away from the TV, the controller enters a low power state that conserves your battery. The moment you pick it up again, it will be ready for use without having to resynch with the console.
Refined for Comfort – The controller’s design is deliberately honed to the closest tenth of a millimeter to offer the most comfortable fit in users’ hands, and was tested extensively by a broader age group than ever before to ensure it is optimized for as many people as possible. According to the team’s research, this improves gameplay performance and allows comfortable gaming for longer periods of time.
Angled Triggers and Bumpers – The triggers and bumpers are carefully designed for performance and comfort. The specific angling allows for a natural fit for your fingers, and the triggers require a lighter pull, so squeezing it repeatedly is an easier and more precise action.
Internal Battery Cavity –The compartment that houses AA batteries is built into the interior of the controller, providing more room at the bottom for your fingers to grip. Another convenient improvement is that the controller is both wireless and a wired– simply plug it into your console with a micro USB cable and the connection automatically switches to preserve battery life.
Picking up the Xbox One controller feels familiar. Its contours, heft and proportions are reminiscent of the Xbox 360 controller, and yet the augmentations the team made are evident. It is distinctly its own controller, enhanced with more than 40 technology innovations that make it more comfortable, precise and immersive – the ultimate accessory for your gaming needs.
“Simply put,” the Xbox team said, “it is the best controller we've ever made.”