New Xbox controller leaks with haptic feedback, motion sensors & more

Xbox Gamescom 2023 Header

A ton of future Xbox hardware plans have leaked through another court document redaction mess up, giving real insights into MIcrosoft’s console gaming future through an internal document titles ‘Roadmap to 2030’.

While the next generation console isn’t planned until 2028, there’s big things coming in the next year, including a dramatically upgraded version of the Xbox controller, codenamed ‘Sebile’.

The controller features a striking new two-tone design with an upper and lower half, and this will enable plenty of customisation options and special editions, while the lower half appears to be a different, grippier material. However the much more exciting stuff is found inside.

The new features include precision haptic feedback using voice coil actuators that will be able to double up as loud speakers. There’s also an accelerometer for motion controls and ‘life to wake’ features. Modular thumbsticks will improve durability and repairability, while there will be a rechargeable battery included, though you can still swap this out. And for late night gamers, quieter buttons and thumbsticks will also be a blessing.

Interestingly the controller will feature three wireless connection methods. Xbox Wireless 2 will continue to connect to Xbox Series and Xbox One consoles, and there will be up-to-date Bluetooth 5.2, but the slide also notes ‘Direct-to-Cloud’, which indicates the controller will be able to pull the same latency reducing trick as the old Google Stadia controller and send inputs directly to the cloud servers.

The new controller will be coming out next May/June, leading in to new mid-generation console refreshes for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, dubbed Brooklin and Ellewood.

Sony stole a march on Microsoft with the DualSense controller upgrades that added more nuanced haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and more for the PS5 generation, while Xbox stuck with the tried and true and refined the Xbox One controller in more subtle ways. However, it was immediately clear that Xbox boss Phil Spencer was thinking about future enhancements. In early 2021 they sent out a survey to Xbox owners asking if there were PlayStation controller features they wanted on Xbox, and a few months later, speaking on the Kinda Funny Gamescast “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.”

Seems that they’ve gone and done them, doesn’t it?

Source: Microsoft via FTC, Engadget

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  1. A pretty good copy, but without the resistive triggers. The “pick up to wake” sounds like a decent innovation.

    • Adaptive triggers are neat, but I think if the Xbox’s rumble triggers are switched to the VCA haptics, that will have a lot of the same effect and be better for compatibility with previous games and rumble styles.

      And maybe they’re not copying Sony, but are copying Nintendo instead? ;)

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