Xbox One S Tip: Design Your Own Controller

Posted on September 8, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox, Xbox One with 0

Xbox One S Tip: Design Your Own Controller

While the Xbox One S comes with a perfectly serviceable Xbox Wireless Controller, you have other options. And among them is a cool Microsoft service called Xbox Design Lab that lets you customize an Xbox Wireless Controller with over 8 million possible color combinations.

Microsoft announced Xbox Design Lab custom controllers at E3 back in June. But Microsoft had to wait for the Xbox One S and its new Xbox Wireless Controller to start shipping before it could open custom controllers to the public. So in late August, about two weeks ago, it revealed that the first Xbox Design Lab custom controllers were on their way to customers.


I didn’t order my own custom controller until pretty late in the game (ahem), on July 29. But when you consider the August 26 first shipment date, I think it’s fair to say that it took about two weeks for my custom controller to arrive.

Xbox Design Lab is a made-to-order service that lets you customize an official Xbox Wireless Controller—the new version that also ships with Xbox One S—to your liking. It’s a simple wizard-based process where you pick the colors you want for all of the various Xbox Wireless Controller components—the body, bumpers and triggers, d-pad, and so on—and optionally add laser engraving, which appears on the bottom front of the controller.


The cost is reasonable, I think. A generic white Xbox Wireless Controller costs $60, while a customized Xbox Design Lab-based design is just $20 more, or $80. If you add laser engraving, you’ll pay an additional $10.

As you can see, my custom controller features an electric green body—green is my favorite color—abyss black bumpers, triggers, and back, a white d-pad, black thumbsticks, colors on black A, B, X and Y buttons, and black View and Menu buttons. Nothing radical, but you can of course go nuts as your muse dictates.


Note that the new Xbox Wireless Controller is a bit of a toss-up, whether you customize it or not. Yes, it works with both the original Xbox One and the Xbox One S. And yes, it works with Windows 10 PCs, too, and includes Bluetooth support (for PC only). But this controller feels (and is) cheaper than its predecessor, so you’ll want to balance your desire for quality with customizability.

Too, remember that you can always get an Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller if you’re serious about gaming. It’s expensive at $150, about half again as expensive as a custom controller made through the Xbox Design Lab. But the construction is of much higher quality–you can really feel the difference–and the Elite controller’s customization capabilities may be of interest to some.


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