When Microsoft revealed the new Xbox One controller, it looked almost same as the Xbox 360 controller. It didn’t have touchpad or light bar like Sony’s PS4 controller. You will be surprised to hear that Microsoft invested well over $100 million for developing this Xbox One controller.
When Microsoft started this project of developing next generation Xbox One controller, they were aware of the fact that people just love Xbox 360 controller and it was the best in class controller.
“We knew that there were things we could improve, even though it was the best-in-class controller,” said Microsoft senior industrial designer Quintin Morris.
“We absolutely look at our competition, because we respect the competition,” said Alam. “But quite frankly, in the controller space, we are convinced that our device is the best in class. I think it’s a well-known fact. You double-check and look around you to make sure you’re not missing anything, but we weren’t encumbered by saying, ‘Hey, go copy that.’”
Microsoft had a whole bunch of brainstorm sessions and built hundreds of models with concepts like adding displays to the controller, the controller which emits smell, etc,.
“We built small slugs of different types of smells that could actually come out of a controller,” said Alam. “Like, as you walked through a jungle, you’d smell the flora.”
Microsoft also tested controllers with speakers, displays, cameras, etc,. But the ideas didn’t make through.
“You’ve got a great TV with a better speaker than we could ever put in this controller,” said Morris. “And it made more sense to [not make players look down at a display], keeping the user’s attention on the TV. We really want them to be immersed in the experience that’s happening in front of them.” Plus, with an extra screen, “You’re burning battery life like there’s no tomorrow — not a great idea,” said Alam.
Another crazy idea that Microsoft tried out was the controller with a tiny projector which would beam out ambient visuals around the player. This was dropped due to battery-life issues.
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