August 12th 2013 9:00 am PT

A closer look at the Xbox One Controller

This week, I sat down with Zulfi Alam, general manager of the Xbox accessories group, to discuss how he and his team have made the best in class Xbox 360 controller even better for Xbox One.

During our discussion, I was impressed with how much the team focused on the gamer and the gaming experience while building the Xbox One controller. During the research and testing process and amidst the 40+ improvements that were ultimately implemented, every improvement – even the placement of tiny screws – was made specifically for gamers.

I don’t want to spoil all of the surprises, but the Xbox One controller improvements range from small to large, including a new screw-free back, a redesigned battery compartment, improved D-pad and the addition of haptic feedback to the triggers (this is really cool).

I hope you enjoy learning about the new Xbox One controller as much as I did, and can’t wait to show it off at gamescom in a couple weeks. If you’d like to read more about the Xbox One controller and see a pic of some of the team behind the magic, you can check out this article

Cross Posted on Xbox Wire

Xbox One By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

  • Spazicle

    I really hope that developers use the rumble triggers in interesting ways.

  • johnabraham

    The battery pack on the 360 controller is very uncomfortable for me so it looks like the Xbox One controller will be way better. Those new triggers are looking really cool as well.

  • evilfangs .

    Sweet!!!

    Larry or anyone who has handled a Xbox one controller. Do you know if the controller has some weight to it? I like my controllers to have some weight to it, I hope it doesn’t feel light as this really messes my gaming up.

  • hoopchi

    I really hope the ability to switch sticks is included for us lefties. Many developers do not give this option and it would help whether through software or hardware means.

  • Death Dealer

    Excellent!

  • beardyman3218

    I didnt think it was possible to improve upon the 360 controller, well you have, Amazing!

  • aykayone

    wait. the controller has aluminum oxynitride in the guide button?!?!

    • Death Dealer

      I thought he said it was transparent aluminum, yes. It’s used in many IR appliances these days.

  • Timothy Hames

    Cool is there a date I can buy one?

  • Christian Morales

    cool can’t wait

  • roozbeh, again

    looks like a beauty. would love to experience it.
    almost perfect evolution of the magnificent xbox 360 controller. well done

  • Timothy Hames

    I do have one question,

    I enjoy playing with a controller on my PC, has it been tested on programs like steam big picture or GTA for windows live to see how it works?

    I will buy one for my PC seeing it looks amazing. Cheerio on this.

    • MrRadiolips

      I was thinking about buying one of these for my PC but thought it would be better to wait for Valves biometric controller instead.

    • Death Dealer

      It will have the same input functionality of the Xbox 360 controller, but the drivers will arrive early 2014. They don’t work with the current Xbox 360 drivers.

  • Simplex

    Will you be able to connect this controller to a PC using USB cable? That would be awesome.

    • roozbeh, again

      no sadly

    • Death Dealer

      YES! But drivers will be released early 2014. Until then, no go.

  • Jorge Garza

    This is beautiful

  • Death Dealer

    Good complementing article:
    kotaku com/how-the-xbox-one-controller-has-changed-1109126240

  • Nick Peck

    That controller looks great, can’t wait to get my hands on it :)

  • Boss

    The Xbox One controller is so much better than the PS4 d!ldo controller with night light

    • B00ME

      I know and a lot of the PS4 controllers features require the camera that’s sold seperately.

    • Death Dealer

      Fun fact: The Xbox One controller has the same tracking functionality as the DS4, but using IR and thus invisible to the naked eye.

  • roozbeh, again

    the analogue sticks look so much better. i already broke through the rubber analogue sticks on my 360 controller so this is a welcome change.

  • B00ME

    So if I want a wired controller I need to buy the play and charge kit?

    • evilfangs .

      You can use any micro USB cable.

    • baconcheeswhiz89

      no it’s like the ps3 controller, it comes with a recharge cord.

    • roozbeh, again

      just plug a micro usb. who doesnt have one of those?

      • B00ME

        Evidently I’m the only person who doesn’t.

        • evilfangs .

          I don’t have one of these too, but I’ll be buying a plug and play charger kit.

        • roozbeh, again

          well best start finding one. pretty useful having those around

  • baconcheeswhiz89

    pretty cool controller and all but does it blend?

    • pulseimpact

      no just no

  • roozbeh, again

    Hey major,
    Does the guide button press down(like the 360) or is it touch sensitive?

    • Tomo

      They said it’s physical and people at E3 said it was physical, so I guess it’s physical, and not touch sensitive.

  • Charles Walton III

    That controller looks good

  • david_hoyland

    The best controller of all time just got better!

    Well played Microsoft, rep added.

  • boe2

    It’s a beauty, nobody can deny that :)

    Will there be PC drivers available (or maybe even out of the box in windows 8) for the controllers connected trough usb? For pc gamers there is still a good deal of confusion when it comes to picking the “correct” 360 controller (since there is a separate windows controller available, but not everyone is aware of that), but it would be nice is the new xbox controller is “one size, fits all”.

    • Morris ヅ

      im sure there will defo be drivers for windows 8 and prob 7 as well

      • Death Dealer

        Early 2014.

        • Morris ヅ

          really why next year?

          • roozbeh, again

            Ask Microsoft

          • Death Dealer

            Don’t know. I guess they want to do PC compatibility testing after the release of the Xbox One.

          • Morris ヅ

            dont you think there doing that now?

            do you think games on pc with controller support would use them feeback triggers in there games?

          • Death Dealer

            At the point of release, very likely not. Games will start using it afterwards. I’m just guessing at the reason for the delay, I seriously don’t know.

          • Morris ヅ

            i hear you, so you dont think CoD:Ghost is going to use da Force Feedback triggers no?

          • Death Dealer

            On the Xbox One, very likely. Even if just for trying to incorporate new stuff on the new gen. I don’t expect it to be fine tuned though, but I might be pleasantly surprised.

          • Morris ヅ

            im sure xbox one tools are friendly tho so i imagine it aint that hard to add it for XboxOne only and tune it

  • Morris ヅ

    cant wait to play a game like cod and see how good the latency is runnin wireless with the pad and the feed back triggers hope devs use it and when they do pc games as well with controller support !!! NOV needs tio hurry up and come!

  • Quanicus

    I have how leading up to Games Com, Microsoft is getting old the hardware information out first. Leaving Games Com to be what it’s intended to be. Good job again, MS!

  • Tomo

    So the Xbox button in the centre lights up? Interesting… The Xbox touch sensitive button on the console lights up too. It looks real neat. So there’s no more ‘player 1′ and ‘player 2′ with the Kinect knowing who you are.

  • ElektroDragon

    The IR feedback to Kinect is fantastic news, but AA batteries… again, just stupid. I know they announced something about a rechargeable battery pack, but this should have been included in the box. Who the heck uses AA batteries in controllers anymore? I want something just as easy to quickly replace as the current 360 battery packs. I understand that removable batteries are better for rapid swap instead of charging the controller or attaching a cable, but a removable lithium ion battery pack would have been the way to go. Instead, they cheapened out… on the more expensive console no less.

    • https://live.xbox.com/MyXbox/Profile?gamertag=DarkGin87 Lee Rayson (DarkGin87)

      I use them on the 360 as the xbox packs don’t hold there charge after a year my last pack lasted 20 mins of play without vibrations on.
      So I switched to Duracell rechargeable 2450mAh an I get about a weeks play out them before I need to charge them again
      and ive had them for over a year now and there still going strong
      Though with the extra rumbles I don’t think AA batteries would last much.

    • Sledg

      First off, the headset in the PS4 box is a joke. The Xbox One headset is way better and there is no comparison. Stop asking for free stuff, the Xbox One contoller kills the PS4 controller. If you don’t think you get a good value then move along. And I don’t mind batteries because my Sanyo rechargables last forever and they hold a huge charge after years of using them.

      • ElektroDragon

        With this kind of attitude, you belong on NeoGAF.

        • Sledg

          Why, because I don’t ask a sub shop to include a drink for free when I buy a sandwich?

          • ElektroDragon

            I am simply requesting that they match the competition on included accessories and features. I will be getting both consoles. No need to be an arrogant fanboy. And how does it “kill” the PS4 controller? There’s no touchpad or speaker on the X1 controller and there is on the PS4 controller. As a result, if anything, the PS4 controller “kills” the X1 controller. Everything else is just a matter of personal preference.

            In any event, it doesn’t matter, because I broke down and ordered a second X1 controller for the wife with included Play and Charge kit for a $10 bundle discount. $15 for the kit is easier to swallow than $25. I’m sure this is exactly what MS marketing was planning I’d do. Le sigh.

          • Sledg

            fanboy, heh! That’s the first.

            And btw if they included the battery pack, I wouldn’t complain. Your original statement made it sound like the XBox One had no value. I think it has a ton of value imo.

          • Boss Saucier

            …but you do expect lettuce on that sandwich.

        • AlexON

          Sanyo Eneloop rechargable batteries… plz

      • Quanicus

        Well first, it technically isn’t free when you’re paying $500.00 plus tax ($540). Second not everyone has Sanyo rechargeable, nor do they trust Sanyo. You should be happy “the voices” have been heard, otherwise you’d be spending $25 for a headset. If this is all it’ll take, I’m about to start ‘complaining’ about the $60 price point on games ;)

      • BigBernard

        “The Xbox One headset is way better” – When did you try it out?

    • Quanicus

      You spoke, lets see if they listen.

    • boe2

      We all use 360 controllers either with the battery pack or rechargeable batteries. Has that really been such a horrible experience for you?

      • Sledg

        I wonder how many people would complain if they built the battery pack in the controller without the option of batteries.

        • killerfirefly

          I would be sad if they did that. Personally, I love the ability to swap out the battery. It means that after a few years when the battery wears out and basically becomes garbage, I can just pop a new one in. Even cheap Nyko options. At least I don’t have to toss the entire controller like with playstation.

          • http://www.doblu.com/ Matt Paprocki

            Replacing a Dual Shock 3 battery is hardly difficult enough to necessitate throwing away a controller.

        • evilfangs .

          I believe it’s better to have the option of buying AA / rechargeable and plug and play battery packs or just use a micro usb for wired.

      • Volitar Prime

        I have a bunch of AA rechargeable batteries that I got at a good price at Sam’s Club. I keep some always charged and swap out dead ones as needed. What’s great about having these is that I can use them with the standard XB360 controller, the force feedback steering wheel, and all the Rock Band / Guitar Hero controllers. Rechargeable AA batteries are a simple universal solution. I’m so happy that they didn’t go with a built in non-replaceable one (like Sony) or a proprietary battery which would have cost more to replace.

    • RogueSpectre749

      As someone who has both a PS3 and a 360, I have to say I disagree with you completely. One of my favorite parts of the 360 controller is the ability to use and swap batteries, not just have to use the one that’s built in.

      I personally prefer to be able to swap out my batteries and keep playing on the 360 so I can keep using my controller wirelessly. On the other hand, if my PS3 controller dies, I have to immediately stop everything, find my cord, then plug it in, meaning that if I want to keep playing, I have to then move up right in front of the TV so my controller can stay plugged in and slowly charge.

      • DarkMaturus

        how long to AA’s last in the controller

        • tigertomspill

          They said it was 40 hours

    • Boss Saucier

      I use the Xbox 360 Quick Charge Kit that can charge two battery packs at once. It is the best option because I can quickly (in about 5 seconds) switch out my battery pack with a fully charged one.

      I just want the Xbox One to include a rechargeable battery pack with a charge cable. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for. I am fine with buying the Charge Kit and extra battery packs on my own.

    • A. J.

      I’ve exclusively used rechargeable AA batteries with my Xbox 360 since launch. They work great. There is no need for proprietary batteries, and there is already enough competition in the AA battery space to get competitive prices and performance.

      Also, I don’t need to buy any new batteries for my X1 since my rechargeable AA’s from my Xbox 360 still work great.

    • tigertomspill

      u can always make it a wired controller and purchase a 5M Cable for a few bucks. but I do agree with the 10 increase in the controller price they should included a charge and play kit or have a non replaceable battery controller option…

  • https://live.xbox.com/MyXbox/Profile?gamertag=DarkGin87 Lee Rayson (DarkGin87)

    I do wonder how the sensitive the xbox button is

    • pulseimpact

      I wonder how sensitive the xbox kinect is. I’m thinking of gamertag variations of “xbox turn off” that way when I’m playing multiplayer people who call me out will have their xbox shut off lol

      • tigertomspill

        you can turn off the xbox 360 with the the current Kinect. it will asked you if you do yes or no. so for some random reason you at least get a question so it would be very unlikely and maybe this function will only work in the dashboard but not in game…

    • tigertomspill

      I remember them talking about the thumb stick to the buttons are closer together and the have a less depth to push the button before a response…

  • Swat

    Wired -> Wireless

    • pulseimpact

      I agree. Wired controllers just feel more fluid to me and there’s no inconvenience of charging anything or running low on batteries.

      • AC130

        Wireless = sit anywhere you want and no annoying wires.

        • pulseimpact

          Wires can be annoying, but if you keep a clean room and can manage space it’s not an issue. Also, I don’t see the need to sit that far away from the tv. I like the fact that when my xbox is on I don’t have to worry about anything interrupting me. Since I switched to wired I never looked back.

          • AC130

            Wireless controller rarely needs much recharging I have a play and charge so when I am on break I can recharge. Means nothing interrupts and no battery changes.

          • tigertomspill

            they also stated that you get 20 percent longer battery life and I read some news that it would be 40 hours on AA batteries..

        • Death Dealer

          True, but wired had less latency in the past, so we’ll have to see what the new Wi-Fi direct does for that.

          • tigertomspill

            well they did say they improved the latency 20 percent

  • Costas

    A little off the topic question.
    Let’s say my xbox falls down and breaks and the warranty doesn’t cover it, why would I have to buy an xbox with kinect again?
    I would have two kinects.
    My point is ,a Kinect-free version of xbox is required, especially since the Kinect is no longer needed to play xbox.

    • ElektroDragon

      But it is needed. Still needs to be connected even if you turn features off.

      • RogueSpectre749
        • pulseimpact

          Removal of kinect mandatory and now including a headset. Microsoft is listening to customers.

          • AC130

            Did they include a play and charge kit?

          • pulseimpact

            Don’t believe so although I haven’t heard much on that.

          • Death Dealer

            Not necessary. A Micro USB to USB cable is enough to play without batteries.

          • beardyman3218

            Plus everyone with a smartphone already has one of these cables, but if you dont ebay has them for £2 for a 5 metre cable. Im glad their using a cable that is a set standard.

          • roozbeh, again

            Unless someone bought ‘apple’ products.

          • beardyman3218

            Along with wasting their money on an overpriced product, they also wont have a mini usb :)

          • tigertomspill

            This is a good option if you don’t mind it being wired…

          • AC130

            The more you learn…

          • tigertomspill

            no, I still think they should have a controller option with a rechargeable battery built in. 50 dollars for a AA battery controller like the current generation and 60 dollar controller with a non replaceable rechargeable controller like the ps4..

    • AC130

      How does one make a X1 fall down? Those things look bulky and can’t be vertical so would be an awkward thing to happen.

    • A. J.

      There is a good chance that they might offer Kinect-less X1’s after a year or two for just this reason. After Kinect is well established, it would be easier to make the device optional.

      Microsoft, if you are listening, make a Kinect “Trade-in” program for this scenario. If your first X1 dies and you buy a second, you’d have one console and 2 Kinects. Let users trade in working Kinects that you can then sell as refurbs.

  • Joshua Guss

    XBOX ONE controllers are the best. I know most PS4 controllers won’t last long because the light bars will blowing out; just like any other light. PS fans will have to buy a new controller every time the light bar blows out. You can’t even turn the light bar off when you don’t need it.

    PS fans kept talking saying “We can’t turn the Kinect off on the XBOX ONE,” which we can. What about their light bar that they can’t turn off, and will be blowing out!?

    • evilfangs .

      Doesn’t really matter if the light bar on the PS4 controller stops working because it doesn’t function without the eye anyway lol. Without the camera it’s just an annoying light that is always on.

    • http://www.doblu.com/ Matt Paprocki

      It’s an LED. Their average life is 50,000 hours. I think they’ll be fine.

    • Not_A_PC_Gamer

      Quit dogging on PS fans as if you have any merit or knowledge of the other system. Makes you sound like a fanboy at best. In the end I’m still going to be paying 20 bucks less in the U.S for PSN+ than you will once MS raises that XBL price another 10 bucks. Microsoft’s incredible greed doesn’t descriminate and I’m calling it now..

      I could say a whole slew of stuff to your here but I wont.

  • Monstrous Tard

    Would be nice if they made it support Xbox 360 controllers.

  • DarkMaturus

    Maybe rechargeable AA’s are the way to go. Can someone who has used both explain to me the pros/cons of each approach. I do know that my lith ion “pack” doesn’t like to keep a charge anymore :(

    • Not_A_PC_Gamer

      I’ve used both and the official battery packs are much better imo. Not only that MS explictly states not to use rechargable AA’s in their controllers if anyone bothered to read the manual to the controller itself.

    • A. J.

      I’ve used rechargeable AA’s for years with my Xbox 360 and Wii controllers. Some of my junky batteries have stopped working, but the rest still work fine. I haven’t had any issues. I’d recommend Eneloops. They are a little bit pricier, ($2 – $2.50 a piece) but they have been very well received. They have more than 3,000 reviews on Amazon.

      Just make sure that you buy 2 more AA batteries than you need. That way you can leave 2 in a charger so that you always have a spare pair ready. I.e. if you have 4 controllers, get 10 batteries (4 + 1 pairs).

      P.S. You can NOT charge standard AA rechargeable batteries in the Xbox controllers. You need a simple wall charger for them.

      • Sledg

        I’ve been using Eneloops for years and they work great. No need to worry about cables and I always have a set ready to go if I need to change them.

  • Death Dealer

    Epic Win for you MS to let the Xbox One be able to function without the Kinect now! That will put the PRISM paranoid at ease.

    • boe2

      It’s not supposed to be ‘working’ without the kinect. To quote Albert Penello:

      All we said today is that we weren’t going to brick the box if Kinect was unplugged. People making a leap thinking that means we’ve completely disconnected Kinect from the system would be wrong.

      • Death Dealer

        I know that, but allowing it to be disconnected is what I wanted and mentioned here before. It’s great, especially for the PRISM obsessed.

  • tigertomspill

    I talk to Polk Audio regarding the new 4 Shot Gaming Headphones, that you don’t need batteries in the headphones or device transmitting module in the back of the console. All you have to do is plugs plug the headset right into the controller, all the audio can be set from the Xbox One to the controller which also saves you 40 dollars over the current generation of wireless headphones. It’s nice that it has Wifi Direct with 20x or 250Mbps of bandwidth to send all the data to the controller. I’M sure they must have some great accessories on the way…

  • tigertomspill

    It seems like they do from what he was talking about feedback from guns to slipping of car tires, and the demo they had during e3… I cant wait to try the new console and get my hands out it and play a game.

  • tigertomspill

    One thing with the new console should be able to do is give you a small message when your battery is getting low, so you can replace the batteries or plug it in….

    • evilfangs .

      I’d rather not have a message popping up on my screen telling me my batteries are low. I’m fine with the way the 360 controller handles this, the Xbox guide button flashes.

      • tigertomspill

        The Xbox guide is gone for Xbox ONE, so maybe in the snap window or Main Dashboard. Anyways I was talking about a Notification, like when you friends log on, or you get a message and achievements, but it could be something in the settings that can turn it off if you like….

  • Not_A_PC_Gamer

    You have a lot to learn buddy

  • Costas

    The warrant will probably be 1 year.
    But that’s not the case. Let’s say someone steals your xbox.
    What then? Or it breaks and can not be repaired.
    There should be a version with no Kinect.

  • Luke

    You can kind of do that already with the Xbox 360, although its a round-about way. Just hold down the guide button, select “Turn off Controller”. The next controller you power on will take the place of the one you just switched off (works for both a single controller, and with multiple controllers connected).

 
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