Microsoft has unveiled details about the work that went into the final design of the Xbox One's controller. According to the company, the controller went through 200 different prototype iterations before arriving at its final phase. It includes over 40 technological innovations over the existing Xbox 360 pad, which came from 20 different research studies.
Many of the innovations were small, while others are described as "substantial".
Here are the major changes:
Impulse Triggers – Xbox One’s Wireless Controller sports four vibration motors – a small one behind each trigger that adds precise haptic feedback to the fingertips, and a larger in each grip for large scale rumbles.
Higher Quality Headset Audio – The data transfer rate between the controller and console has been improved, allowing for higher fidelity audio in communication headsets. In-game chat over Xbox Live, according to the team, will be in many cases clearer than talking on a phone.
Revamped Thumbsticks – The thumbsticks are built for precision and comfort; are smaller and outlined with a knurled texture for better grip. The sticks require 25 percent less force to move, allowing you to adjust your aim in a first-person shooter or execute a half-circle sweep. It also uses advanced electronics that reduce thumbstick deadzone in the center.
Brand New D-Pad – The new design is architectured to deliver more precision and tactile feedback for gaming. It provides accurate cardinal direction input, sweeping movements and combinations.
Buttons, Buttons, Buttons – The A, B, X and Y buttons are lower to the controller with tighter spacing, making the transition between each one smoother. A new, three-step manufacturing process gives these buttons a more premium look, and the size and placement of the Xbox button has also changed so the view and menu buttons are more accessible.
Seamless Connectivity – Each controller uses a combination of invisible reflective technology and LEDs to send a patterned infrared signal to your console and Kinect sensor. This makes pairing the devices seamless, and enables Kinect to associate the controller with whoever is holding it. This introduces experiences such as player switching, where a split screen display can swap positions on the TV if users change seats on the couch.
Low Power State – If you’re watching a movie or need to step away from the TV, the controller enters a low power state that conserves your battery. The moment you pick it up again, it will be ready for use without having to resynch with the console.
Refined for Comfort – The controller’s design was honed to the closest tenth of a millimeter to offer the most comfortable fit in users’ hands, and was tested extensively by a broader age group than ever before to ensure it is optimized for as many people as possible. According to the team’s research, this improves gameplay performance and allows comfortable gaming for longer periods of time.
Angled Triggers and Bumpers – The triggers and bumpers are designed for performance and comfort. The specific angling allows for a natural fit for your fingers, and the triggers require a lighter pull. Squeezing it repeatedly is an easier and more precise.
Internal Battery Cavity –The compartment that houses AA batteries is built into the interior of the controller, giving your fingers more room to grip at the bottom. The controller is both wireless and a wired and can be plugged into Xbox One with a mini USB cable. The connection automatically switches to preserve battery life.
The Xbox One is scheduled for release this holiday season.