Console controller designs are very important to the user experience. In the case of Xbox controllers these are probably the most important to PC gamers and enthusiasts with the closeness of the Xbox and PC ecosystems.
On Monday Microsoft revealed a lot of details and tech specifications for its upcoming Xbox Series X but notably absent from the blog post which was our source were any details on the next gen controller. However, a separate post containing an interview with Ryan Whitaker, Senior Designer at Xbox, concentrates solely on the upcoming controller, with its changes claimed to make "gaming's best controller even better".
Whitaker began his interview by talking about accessibility and comfort. He said that the new controller would be comfortable to gamers aged as young as eight. However, Whitaker insisted that there would be no negative impact for those of us with larger hands. Instead of physically scaling the pad down it seems like it was nuanced with rounded bumpers, slight reductions of bulk around trigger parts, and the sculpting of grips.
New textures and finishes will be available when the Xbox Series X is released. Microsoft is introducing a tactile dot pattern on triggers and bumpers as standard, as will be a similar but more subtle pattern on the grips. Users will also notice the D-pad, bumpers and triggers have a matte finish.
Probably the next most noticeable change on the controller, which is based upon the current Xbox One controller, is the new D-pad. The new design is a kind of hybrid, balancing crisp tactile cardinal directions with a deeper dish in the home position. Each angular section has been tuned to give good leverage with minimal movements.
Microsoft seems to be pretty good with cross generational compatibility with its game libraries. The new controller will be more widely compatible than ever. You will be able to use it with both the old Xbox One and the new Series X consoles. Moreover, thanks to Xbox Wireless Radio, BTLE and USC-C it will be a snap to connect it to more devices including PC, Android, and iOS. On the topic of connectivity, Microsoft claims reduced input latency for the new controller, bringing you closer into the action.
Owners of the current gen Xbox controllers might quickly notice the next gen model is furnished with a dedicated share button. Whitaker explained that "adding a Share button is the best way to make capturing and sharing instantaneous," and it is a good feature for the increasingly social world of online gaming.
Overall, Microsoft suggests its array of small tweaks and improvements can together provide a good upgrade on the existing standard. What do HEXUS readers think about the new controller?