By the end of October, we will get the new Xbox Elite Controller. Introducing control hardware customization, is this the first step in a future of controllers that adapt to their players, and not vice-versa?
The new Xbox Elite Controller made a shock when it was announced: its slick and elegant, the overall quality of the Xbox controller improved (ex: sticks that won’t wear down by use), but a new element was added to the console controllers world – for the first time, changing buttons and sticks was just a matter of detaching them to fit whatever suits you best.
Not only are the main components now interchangeable without the need of tools (so you won’t have to find a new controller or take it to a shop when something breaks), but as the 6 back-paddles demonstrate, magnetically attaching components is now a thing.
This is especially important, as the use of a magnetic surface to connect the parts could escalate to the whole controller in the future – that means, for now we have swappable parts, but the freedom of having the whole surface at your disposal to accommodate your controller to whatever really suits you is a future possibility (maybe even a controller that can change its whole shape?).
However, keeping the feet on ground, we still have something to look forward in the meantime: Mike Ybarra (Director of Program Management for Xbox) has said the technology behind the elite controller will extend to all Xbox controllers eventually.
No word yet on when, but it seems it’s an initiative Microsoft plans on keeping. With a 150$ tag, however, the Elite Controller is still more a luxury than anything, so it might be a long time until the technology becomes affordable enough to become the new standard.