Microsoft spent over $100 million (£65 million) developing the Xbox One Wireless Controller.
Despite claims that the Xbox 360 controller was greatly preferred to other console offerings like the PS3 DualShock 3, Microsoft spent hundreds of millions of dollars creating the new Xbox One controller prior to launch.
Zulfi Alam, General Manager of Xbox Accessories at Microsoft, confirmed the huge figures speaking to CVG, stating it was always the intention to start the design from scratch.
“The investments in redesigning a controller go into the hundreds of millions of dollars in tooling and R&D costs,” said Alam. “Bearing in mind we started with something that people considered best-in-class, the pressure to do it right again was tremendous. Honestly, some of us felt like we were putting our career on the line. We were afraid we were going to burn through $100 million and come back with an under-developed controller.”
Alam and other controller experts interviewed hundreds of core gamers to gain their insight into what changes could be made to the Xbox 360 controller and introduced in the Xbox One Wireless Controller.
“We added each one of those advancements to the Xbox 360 controller, and each time we tested the new builds on live games. The final Xbox One controller may not look different on the outside, but inside its remarkably different.”
That $100 million expenditure led to the Xbox One Wireless Controller gaining 40 new features over its predecessor. It gains new dynamic impulse triggers, an integrated battery compartment, remodelled analogue sticks, Wi-Fi connectivity and a precision D-Pad among other tweaks.
Microsoft did experiment with other prototypes, including some with speakers and displays, similar to the GamePad for the Nintendo Wii U.
“The first thing about a display on a controller is that it needs to be super hi-res, which chews the battery life much more aggressively, which will irritate gamers. The second thing is that your HDTV will be the better display, and your eyes having to move between screens to get all the information is not a compelling gameplay scenario. It makes for worse gameplay.”
Seemingly criticising the Xbox Smartglass second screen app, Alam quickly adds:
“SmartGlass is different because it’s for extra information. When I’m playing Call of Duty I don’t want the second screen to be compulsory. So that’s why having a second screen sounds interesting, but is actually detrimental to core gameplay.”
The Xbox One will be released in November for £429 bundled with the Xbox One Kinect, one Wireless Controller and the Chat Headset.
Next, read our Xbox One vs PS4 comparison.