Microsoft Spent $100M On The Xbox One Controller Redesign


The Xbox One gamepad looks fantastic. It’s much more ergonomic, sleek, and precise than it’s 360 counterpart. These design changes brought about a fantastic new D-pad, a more integrated battery housing, more precise analog sticks, and a screw-less casing. Microsoft used the years of feedback they’d received from gamers to create a truly upgraded controller for the Xbox One. But at what cost?

It’s now been reported that Microsoft spent $100M on R&D for the Xbox One’s new controller. In a new video posted today, Major Nelson talks with Zulfi Alam about the 40 subtle redesigns that make the new pad all the better for gamers.


Some amount of that money was likely put into the hours Microsoft had to pay testers to use the controller over long play sessions. The changes aren’t readily apparent at first glance, but even the small things count.

  • The D-pad has seen a complete redesign. It now rests just above the motherboard, which helps with precisely input commands. It’s also no longer raised off the controller (a design many gamers expressed distaste for)
  • The triggers themselves now have haptic feedback (sense of touch). This is achieved by adding small rumble motors to each trigger. The feature gives a particular feeling based on what you’re currently using the controller to accomplish ie. weapons will now FEEL different from each other as a result.
  • The Xbox One controller is a dual purpose gamepad. In the past, there’s been the wireless controller that obviously relies on a signal to transmit back and forth, and a wired version that’s primarily used in competitions to make sure there’s no transmission time (lag). The Xbox One controller can be used in both instances. When wired, the radio actually shuts off and all data is streamed via USB, the 360 controller wasn’t a truly “wired” controller when plugged in.
  • The wireless protocol has 20x more bandwidth and less latency than it’s 360 predecessor.
  • IR LEDS are now present in the front and center of the controller. This allows Kinect to identify the person that’s holding the controller. Profiles shift without having to sign in/out of profiles.
  • A, B, X, Y have been optimized and even moved slightly closer for easier access.

The changes are going to result in a much better experience for gamers, but are they worth $100M? You tell us. Check back often for the latest Xbox One news!

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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