With over two years since Xbox One's latest controller revision, Microsoft is seemingly preparing for the significant evolution in its lineup. Following rumor of a second-generation Elite and USB-C peripherals, newly-surfaced patents explore further improvements in development.
Reported by Windows Latest, Microsoft-filed patents detail potential changes to Xbox controller trigger (LT + RT) technology. The documents detail an "input device" leveraging a "linear geared feedback trigger" and "motor-driven adjustable-tension trigger." In short, Microsoft is experimenting with force-feedback and adjustable-tension, hoping to elevate real-time trigger feedback. The feature could allow titles to impose variable resistance on the buttons, repelling player actions in-line with on-screen actions.
Such a motor-driven, force-feedback trigger configuration enables the user-perceived state of the trigger to be dynamically adjusted in a variety of ways. For example, the trigger may be driven by the force-feedback motor to adjust a user-perceived resistance of the user-actuatable trigger. In another example, the trigger may be driven by the force-feedback motor to simulate a hard stop that effectively adjusts a pull length or range of rotation of the trigger. In another example, the trigger may be driven by the force-feedback motor to assist the trigger in returning to a fully-extended or "unpressed" posture when a user' s finger is removed from the trigger. In another example, the trigger may be driven by the force-feedback motor to vibrate the trigger.
The Xbox One controller's existing triggers are already distinct, packing rumble technology for more precise controller vibration. The feature proves impressive across supported games, driving across rumble strips or firing high-caliber weapons in games. Further enhancements could expand this concept, changing how players experience select titles. Previously-leaked "Elite V2" images show has toyed with joystick tension control too, although would be player-configured to personal preference.
As with any patent, this technology isn't set to translate to a final product. However, it provides an insight into Microsoft's plans to improve its gamepads as a new "Scarlett" Xbox console generation looms.