Microsoft gives more insight into designing the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S controller

Xbox Series S controller
Xbox Series S controller (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • With the arrival of next-gen gaming hardware in the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, the Xbox controller is also getting a refresh.
  • The Xbox controller is often a contender for the very best of game controllers, so Microsoft didn't see a need to change much.
  • A new blog post goes over the design process for the new Xbox controller, and some of the important changes they made.
  • This includes tidbits of information, like how the new hybrid D-pad had literally hundreds of iterations and prototypes.

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are just around the corner, and with it is coming the newly refreshed Xbox controller. Rather than redesign the controller that's already widely considered to be the best game controller around, Microsoft chose to refine the existing formula, a strategy that impressed in our recent early hands-on. In a new blog post on Medium, we get to learn more about the design process for the new Xbox controller, which reconfirms things we already knew, but includes some cool insights from the Microsoft Design team.

Xbox Controller Design (Image credit: Microsoft Design)

Xbox Controller Design (Image credit: Microsoft Design)

Source: Microsoft Design

From the outside, there doesn't appear to be a ton of changes made to the new Xbox controller, but initial impressions can be deceiving. The new Xbox controller has a ton of tiny refinements that rapidly add up, including added texture for grips, triggers, and bumpers, an improved hybrid D-pad design, a slightly more rounded bumpers that make the controller more comofortable and accessible for players with smaller hands. There's also the new Share button that aims to help players quickly and easily capture and share their gameplay.

Apparently, Microsoft went through literally hundreds of iterations for the new hybrid D-pad, testing out different designs, angles, depths, and more, which looks quite cool in the above images.

On the inside, the weight is the same as the previous generation, but it's been shifted to help the controller sit more firmly in your hands, which is immediately noticeable. Buttons and particularly triggers have been adjusted to be more tactile and satisfying. Overall, the changes made by Microsoft seem to be intelligent and purposeful, and make a nearly-perfect game controller even better for the next-gen, without resorting to possibly gimicky features that may or may not pan out.

If you're interested in picking up an extra controller for your new console, or even if you want to use it on your existing Xbox One (yes, it is backwards compatible), find out where to buy the new controllers and accessories.

Xbox Series X/S


Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.