Microsoft unveiled a new Xbox One controller at E3 this week, called the “Xbox Elite Wireless Controller.”
The controller itself is extremely useful and customisable, but there’s a major catch: It costs $US150. That’s more than double the price of a normal Xbox One controller ($US60), which is already expensive as is.
Here’s the extra features you’re getting from the “Elite” controller:
- A rubberised diamond grip. You will never drop this thing.
- A redesigned directional pad (D-pad) for better precision, which can also be removed and replaced with the traditional D-pad design
- A 3.5mm audio jack so you can plug in your headset, so others around you don’t have to listen to your game as you play it
- Four new paddles on the bottom, which replicate the four face buttons so you don’t have to move your hands to perform split-second actions
- Redesigned analogue sticks that are less resistant to wear. They can also be replaced with convex analogue sticks (similar to the design on the PlayStation 4’s controllers)
- The ability to map any button or trigger to any part of the controller, and even adjust the sensitivities of those components
Even the most hardcore gamers will find few complaints with this controller, since everything can be customised to your liking, and it’s generally friendlier towards all types of games and gamers. And since you can pre-configure settings and switch between those different load-outs for different games using those tiny green buttons on the back of the controller, it’s easy to change your controller layout on the fly.
The major downside, obviously, is the price. Keep in mind, the actual Xbox One console is $US350, so if you plan to buy two Elite controllers, that’s another $US300 right there.
If you want a complete set — 4 Elite controllers, for all of those multiplayer games like “Halo” — that’s going to cost you a whopping $US600.
Mind you, these are premium controllers that you’ll likely not need to replace anytime soon. But the price of the Xbox Elite Wireless Controllers adds to the total price of the Xbox One: If you don’t have the console yet, buying an Xbox One and just a single Elite controller will put you back $US500. And that doesn’t even include the price of games, which cost upwards of $US60 apiece, or the other accessories you might want to buy, like a quality headset.
There’s not much wrong with the current $US60 Xbox One controller — I asked my Xbox One-owning colleagues, who all say the controller hasn’t broken or deformed since purchase — but it’s great that Microsoft wanted to build a better one. That said, $US150 is exorbitant for a few improvements that arguably should be standard. So wait until the eventual price drop, either during a flash sale or during the holiday season, when everything is cheaper. Keep in mind, the original Xbox One system cost $US500 (with the Kinect peripheral included), but Microsoft quickly lowered the price to better compete with Sony’s PlayStation 4. In time, the same thing will happen to this Elite controller.
Good things come to those who wait.