One of the defining differences between the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles is found in the gamepad you hold in your hand. Where the Xbox Series X|S controller subtly refined the Xbox One controller, Sony has revolutionised their gamepad with the DualSense featuring new haptic feedback motors and adaptive triggers. Now, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has hinted that such features could make their way into an upgraded Xbox controller in future.
“We’re definitely thinking about different kinds of devices that can bring more games to more places. There’s probably some work that we’ll do on the controller. I think Sony’s done a nice job with their controller and we kind of look at some of that and [think] there are things that we should go do.”
Saying this kind of thing is only going to stoke the fires of any rumours and speculation around controller evolution. Microsoft now seems pretty happy to reinvent their hardware, whether it’s mid-generation console upgrades, lower powered alternatives, or making significant revisions to the gamepad – the Xbox One controller was replaced and enhanced for the release of the Xbox One S. Back in January, Microsoft sent out a survey to ask Xbox Series X|S owners, and asked if there were any PlayStation controller features they wanted on Xbox.
Just don’t expect anything to happen immediately. He continued, “But [we’re] probably not in the more bespoke accessories place right now. We just look at what happens on Windows and other places and see if there’s a unique opportunity for us. Right now I don’t think there’s anything that’s obvious to me.”
That’s perhaps surprising, given that Microsoft has their popular Xbox Elite controller, which adds features like trigger stops and rear paddle buttons, not to mention the Design Labs custom controller creator, which recently relaunched for the new Series X|S controller. However, it also serves to narrow the scope of what Microsoft might produce going forward. In particular, when asked about any potential for VR support, Spencer stated that it was the untethered Oculus Quest headsets that seemed better for the form of gaming, as opposed to tethering to a console.