A novel idea which was eventually bumped on the head, the smell releasing Xbox One controller was just one way in which the manufacturer looked to better bring its next-gen gaming experience to life for expectant gamers.
As well as odour releasing peripherals, Microsoft has confirmed that it considered, and prototyped, Xbox One controllers with integrated touchscreen displays, speakers and even cameras before finally settling on a more minor alteration on a traditional classic.
“We had a whole bunch of brainstorm sessions and built hundreds of models," Zulfi Alam, Xbox’s General Manager for Accessories said in a recent interview with GamesBeat. "We looked at concepts like adding displays to the controller. We looked at concepts like adding smell."
Elaborating on the scent-emitting Xbox One controller prototypes Alam added: "We built small slugs of different types of smells that could actually come out of a controller, like, as you walked through a jungle, you'd smell the flora."
Despite having looked at adding projectors and a PS4 echoing touchpad to the Xbox One controller, Alam admits that “each one of these ideas fell down” during testing.”
Detailing the rigorous testing process some of these Xbox One controller prototypes was put through, Quintin Morris, Microsoft’s Senior Industrial Design stated: “We tested with more than 500 people throughout the course of the project. All ages, all abilities.”
He added: “Ultimately, you don’t really get a definitive answer out of [these user tests]. You get a general opinion that points you in the right direction. It’s not so black-and-white as ‘this is the right answer for this attribute.’ You test each attribute to understand them, but … ultimately you’re testing [how everything comes together].”
Revealing why the these dramatic additions were eventually scrapped, Morris said: "You've got a great TV with a better speaker than we could ever put in this controller. And it made more sense to [not make players look down at a display], keeping the user's attention on the TV. We really want them to be immersed in the experience that's happening in front of them."
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