Say what you like about Microsoft, but nobody makes a video game controller like Team Green. Sony may have come up with the standard design for a controller, but Microsoft perfected the concept with the Xbox 360 controller and sharpened it to an absurd edge with the Xbox One generation. For the Xbox Series X era, not too much is changing on the surface, but under the hood there lies a whole new status quo for what these devices will be capable of.
“One key area we’re improving is fitting a wider range of hand sizes, especially smaller hands,” Xbox Senior Designer Ryan Whitaker said in news that made me clap my tiny hands with joy.
By accommodating hands similar to those of an average 8-year-old, we found we could improve accessibility and comfort for hundreds of millions more people without negatively affecting the experience for those with larger hands. We did that by rounding the bumpers, slightly reducing and rounding parts around the triggers, and carefully sculpting the grips.
The new D-pad is about boosting performance and accessibility for all the ways people play. (And it’s one of my favorite parts of the new design.) When looking at the wide range of game genres and personal playstyles today, the D-pad is used in a lot of different ways. That’s why our Elite controllers have swappable D-pads. For some games, having crisp cardinal directions (up, down, left, right) with well-defined edges is what gamers need, and the cross is great for that.
Some gamers need to hit accurate diagonals or perform sweep actions, which is where the facetted dish is designed to excel. And, of course, based on personal playstyles, some people just prefer one over the other.
Other controller aspects that will be improved upon? Better ergonomics, improved cross-device connectivity, easier sharing, and reduced latency. That, and we’re finally getting a proper button for sharing content. “Gaming is an important way people connect with each other. It’s often how friends hang out and stay in touch,” Whitaker said.
Capturing and sharing epic or meme-worthy moments are part of that experience and should be as quick and unobtrusive as possible. Adding a Share button is the best way to make capturing and sharing instantaneous. It’s easy to just grab a screenshot or record a video without needing on-screen menus. Then you can easily access and share content with your favourite social platforms or directly with friends.
All this and new textures with which to experience on a tactile level. You could say that I can’t wait to get my hands on an Xbox Series X controller later this year. My very very tiny hands.
Last Updated: March 16, 2020