Xbox One controller almost had "Smell-O-Vision" and an integrated screen

Xbox One Controller

Microsoft’s current Xbox One controller may simply be an improved version of their Xbox 360 controller, but during development, the team decided to get a bit wild and tested a variety of possible options and enhancements for the accessory.

In an interview with Kotaku, Zulfi Alam, Microsoft’s head of Xbox accessories, told the news outlet that the company experimented with integrating smells into the controller. Players might be able to smell the forest as they run through it in Crysis or spell the burn of rubber from their sport car’s tires in Forza Motorsport 5. In the end, the prototypes didn’t work out and smells from the controller where left in the room long after they were desired to dissipate. Zulfi Alam explained:

“We went all out, but they didn’t work out in practice due to the overly immersive smells.”

The company also experimented with the integration of small screens and speakers into the controller, but they never worked out. The Xbox design team described the implementations as having high battery drain and being distracting from the overall experience. (I guess Nintendo didn’t feel the same way.)

Xbox One Controller Internals

The team attempted to integrate speakers into the controller and have the player hear the sound of a reloading cartridge, but it was once again ruled out as distracting. Alam explained how the addition pulled away from a prime gaming experience:

"The best speakers in the house are the ones associated with the TV and you essentially drown it all away, so it's not a useful investment.”

Like with most companies, Microsoft experimented with a collection of various ideas on their Xbox One controller and settled on the best. The new Xbox One controller may not have “Smell-O-Vision” or a built in touch screen, but it does contain over forty improvements that the company hopes you will enjoy.

I’m most excited for the new impulse trigger technology – anyone else have a favorite?

Source: Kotaku


Reader comments

Xbox One controller almost had "Smell-O-Vision" and an integrated screen


There was a similar idea being developed for the Dreamcast way back when. It was too be plugged in to one of the ports on the controller. Alas, another way that system was well ahead of its time.

Think they meant the terminology... we all know what 'smell o vision' is, the term is just purely non-sensical if you really think about it.

It's a play on the word "television" e.g. "smellvision", "smellyvision", "smellevision", "smellovision". It doesn't have to make sense :P

I just want my Chat Pad Keyboard back. It saves me a lot of time whenever I have anything that requires text input, and I don't care how good the voice recognition is, its not going to be good enough when I make a mistake and have to remove a word in the middle of a sentence or correct something it got wrong. The Scroll and select method blows.

I like most of us have a Windows Phone, but unless you have the smartglass app open every time you get on your XBox, it takes 1-2 minutes to sync and get to the keyboard for text input.  Its just way too slow. You also have to put down your controller, find your phone or tablet and then use it. Its just too much of an interruption to your work flow. The Chat Pad just keeps you in the moment and you don't have to get another device.

You also could use a USB keyboard and just put it to the side when not in use, at least that works on Xbox 360

I'll try it with my wireless mini keyboard, but again you have to put down your controller type in your message/search and then get your controller back because it doesn't have the button control on the USB Keyboard. I get that its just a little inconvenient, but the chatpad made the experience so much better.

Hell, I don't do any online gaming/chatting, but I still got the chatpad just so I can do web/password/etc input on Xbox 360. Scroll and select DOES suck.

Another option I read somewhere that will be implemented is using the new Kinect sensor to recognize things such as points cards or promotion codes. However, this doesn't really help the messaging aspect but there's always the option of running Skype in split screen. Just a couple of pretty neat extras.
As far as new features to the controller it's hard to tell, anyone know if all 40 improvements have been detailed somewhere?

Scratch and sniff? What would it smell like if I was playing Dead Island and walking through the sewers?

The screen is a great idea. Sega nailed it with the Dreamcast. It was perfect for games like NFL 2K or John Madden because your opponent was not able to see your plays

Yeah but they back tracked on that too, just like everything else that they said they would do lol.

Thank God they aborted on the smells... I'm sorry, but as much as I love zombie action, I would NOT want to smell rotting flesh in my living room.

If the controller had smell, I would be in trouble with my wife. Whenever my character has sex in a video game (Fable, God of War etc) and my wife comes home... She'd be like: "WTF, it smells like someone had sex in here!"

So glad they dropped the screen and the smell feature. I think both are pants. The screen on the PS4 seems so lame to me. An improved d pad will be good. So many great improvements. As for the vibration feedback thing, no use to me, I hate them. Make my hands go numb.