Microsoft Patents New Xbox Controller Iconography
How often do you look down at your controller when you’re using it? If you’re like me, it’s not often, but it seems that Microsoft is looking for a new way to relay input commands. Custom controllers sell very well. Take for instance the special edition Halo or Titanfall Xbox controllers, they wouldn’t take the time to make them if they weren’t lucrative.
Microsoft has just patented a new design for an Xbox controller. Based on the image provided, it looks to be the Xbox 360 pad (button layout/standing console). It’s possible this preliminary design would be applied to the Xbox One as well. The new design features custom button iconography. As you can see, the standard ABXY of the Xbox controller is replaced by what looks to be reload, change weapon, an eye (POV?), and an X (not sure). The d-pad looks to feature icons for running and crouching as well. Here’s some of the verbiage from the patent filing,
 Independently controllable displays may be configured to provide formation, such as icons, to a user of controller 102 to convey the functionality provided by actuation of the corresponding pushable button. It will be appreciated that the term “icon” as used herein refers to any image, textual and/or graphical, displayed via an individually controllable display device. For example, buttons 116 may be configured to alternatively display alphanumeric icons 118 and graphical icons 120. Accordingly, during use of computing device 110 (e.g., during interaction with application 113), specific actions or activities (e.g., jump, crouch, run, change weapon, etc.) may be assigned to buttons 116, and corresponding icons may be displayed thereon. Further, upon the occurrence of user actuation of buttons 116 and/or upon the occurrence of various triggers (e.g., video game game play situations), the icons may be updated to reflect an updated state (e.g., updated functionality of the associated input mechanism).
It looks like the possibility of QTE (quick time events), or other commands, featuring actual iconography instead of button mappings may be the specific application of the new design. This may be a new way for developers to communicate actions to gamers, along with being a new product design to sell. You can read the full summary of the patent here.
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