Microsoft’s upcoming new Xbox Elite Wireless Controller will come with a heady price tag to match its Elite naming: $150. But that price buys what Microsoft says is an unprecedented level of performance and customization in a console controller.
Color me skeptical. $150 is roughly three times the cost of a normal Xbox One Wireless Controller. I could see double the price. But three times?
Here’s what Microsoft says justifies that price.
Durable materials. I tend to destroy my Xbox controllers within a few months—the thumbsticks are the first to go—but Microsoft says this controller features stainless steel thumbstick shafts, d-pads, and paddles, low-friction, reinforced rings around each thumbstick, and a “new, enhanced rubberized diamond grip gives the controller a more substantial feel while providing more stability, and allowing you to hold the controller with less effort for a more comfortable gaming experience.” Only time will tell, of course.
Six thumbstick options. Microsoft says you can “swap between six thumbsticks of different shapes, sizes and heights, allowing you to discover configurations that can improve accuracy, speed and reach.” I will say that in switching between the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers today, I find the Xbox One controller’s thumbsticks to be awkwardly tall. I wonder if this will fix that issue.
Two d-pad options. You can switch between the “faceted” d-pad shown in these pictures—which, yes, looks very odd—and a traditional d-pad as found on the original controller.
Interchangeable paddles. Thanks to four slots on the back of the controller, you can swap out interchangeable paddles, “allowing you access to commands with more fingers so you don’t have to take your thumbs off the thumbsticks to execute intricate jump, aim, and shoot combinations,” Microsoft says. You can attach one or more paddles at any time (no tools required) and customize them to trigger whatever commands you wish.
Hair Trigger lock. A switch on the controller lets you stop the trigger movement after a shot, preventing errant shots and improving accuracy. Or, toggle it back to return to full-range trigger motion.
Xbox Accessories app. This app, available on Xbox One and Windows 10, will let you customize the controller with 255 controller profiles, but individual control of features like trigger min/max values, thumbstick sensitivities, button assignments and more. You can also assign any of 14 commands to the A,B,X, and Y buttons, paddles, d-pad, triggers, and thumbsticks.
Profile support. Each controller can have two profiles loaded simultaneously so you can switch between them on the fly.
Availability. The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller will be available October 27, Microsoft says.
$150 though. Yikes.