The Xbox 20th Anniversary controller is utterly glorious, if you can find one [Back in stock]

Xbox 20th Anniversary Controller
Xbox 20th Anniversary Controller (Image credit: Windows Central)

Update 11/17/2021: This controller is now back in stock at the Microsoft Store, while supplies last!

It's a special time of year right now. No, not Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Christmas, even though those are all on the horizon. We're celebrating an important birthday; Xbox is finally out of its teenage years and has hit the big 20.

There's a lot going on around the 20th Anniversary celebrations, but in true Xbox style, there's some hardware to celebrate. One of which I'd apparently forgotten I pre-ordered since it showed up completely out of the blue this morning.

This is the #Xbox20 special edition Xbox Series X|S controller and it's easily my favorite to date.

You can see right through it

Xbox 20th Anniversary Controller

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Why do we love being able to see inside electronics? I've never understood why I love it, but I do. And that's what you get on the Xbox 20th Anniversary controller. The whole front is a smoky translucent finish, exposing the rumble motors and a green ring around the D-Pad and, well, not a lot else really. All the actual electronics face inward so there are no circuits to look at. But honestly, I think that's good. This controller looks sweet.

On the front, the buttons are all themed to match the front panel for a bit of a stealthy look and the only other visual flare on the front is a subtle "20" logo that Xbox has been using on its promos for the 20th anniversary, and a green flash across the Xbox symbol.

This is more interesting than it first appears when the controller is off and it matches the rest of the theme. But when the controller is on and connected, the button glows white, illuminating the classic white and green Xbox logo.

Special touches around the back

Xbox 20th Anniversary Controller

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

On the back, the controller is basically black with a standard battery door and the same slight texture on the triggers that you find on the normal Xbox Series X|S controllers. The grips are bright green but they're also rubberized, providing some added friction when in hand. Given the front and sides are super smooth these grips are certainly welcome.

Xbox 20th Anniversary Controller

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The other special touch is to be found below the battery door. Here you find a message from Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, that simply says "When everybody plays, we all win." You also get a small signature, to match.

Never have wiser words been said in the gaming world and it's a fitting message as Xbox celebrates such a milestone. They're doing awesome work in accessibility and cross-platform play, making Xbox a home for gaming for millions.

The only downside...

Xbox 20th Anniversary Controller

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

There's only really one downside to the Xbox 20th anniversary controller; you might not be able to get one. In some markets, such as the UK where I am, you can still order one from some sources such as Amazon, but in the U.S. it's out of stock at Microsoft and Amazon. You might have luck at retailers like Best Buy where the website says it could still be in-store, but without a pre-order ahead of time, it's going to be tough to track down.

It's a shame because this is one of the best-looking special edition controllers that Xbox has ever launched. It keeps to the traditional theme of black and green for the anniversary and even the box looks great. I'm not entirely sure I'm going to use this one. Maybe on special occasions. Happy birthday, Xbox.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at

  • Just ordered one, it's supposed to be here this weekend!
  • Got mine from Amazon yesterday. The exclusive live background is pretty awesome.
  • There are probably a Xbox 20 anniversary console without semi-conductors crisis.
    It'not joke, you can't buy normally a console in 2021, you must go in ebay for this, and pay more expensive.
  • That isn't the only way, you have to be lucky and put in lots of effort to be there once stock comes back in stores.
  • Does it work with PC or just Xbox?
  • Both. It has Bluetooth.