It took 200 prototypes to create the Xbox One controller

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XB1 Controller

Asking me which console to recommend these days is the equivalent of quizzing me as to which testicle I’d like to keep in a life or death situation. I love all three two of very much you see. What I will admit however, is that the Xbox One has a superior controller in my humble opinion. Sure, the PS4 controller may have more features, but they’re barely used and the damn thing has the battery lifespan of a Mayfly which has gotten rather drunk and hasn’t buckled its seatbelt on before driving off. But to make the Xbox One controller, the design team behind it went through tons of design iterations.

Speaking to MCV, design lead Carl Ledbetter explained that the process behind creating the actual Xbox One and controller was a three year process. Testing the controller with 1100 consumers over 500 hours resulted in the final look and feel of the input device. “Nobody says anything about the little things on the hardware,” Ledbetter said.

If somebody is using the controller and after 30 minutes is saying ‘my hands are starting to hurt.’ then that’s a fail. But if after 30 minutes all they’re thinking about is the game, then we’re doing OK. An example of something we got wrong was the first Xbox controller,” admits Ledbetter. “It worked, but it wasn’t the right size for people. For the Xbox One, there has been a bunch of things that, I don’t know if they were wrong, but they weren’t appropriate or they weren’t the ideal solution. Usually, we do enough testing that it wouldn’t go out the door if it wasn’t right.

All of this testing and design, resulted in over 200 prototypes before the final controller was chosen. And what a controller it is. I quite dig it, thanks to those vibrations in the trigger and redesign that shifted parts around, even if I struggled to insert my headset for god knows what reason that resulted in me actually breaking that jack in my input device. But the less said about that, the better.

In terms of size, it’s also pretty comfy. It fits well in my child hands, and in the massively dangerous hamfists of my own father, even he dug playing some Forza Horizon 2 with it. Hell, I even use the controller for PC games, because it works so well.

Last Updated: November 26, 2014

Darryn Bonthuys

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