Microsoft to bring Xbox Series X|S controller features to older controllers in future update

Xbox One Controller
Xbox One Controller (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The new Xbox Series X|S Wireless Controllers came with a suite of new features and additions to improve the experience.
  • Some of the biggest changes included Bluetooth Low Energy for better cross-device play and low latency for superior gaming.
  • Today, Microsoft has begun testing a firmware update for older Xbox controllers, which add these important features.
  • When the update officially releases, the Xbox One controller, Xbox Elite Series 2, and Xbox Adaptive Controller will all see big improvements to cross-device gaming and more.

When the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S finally released to the world, the new Xbox Wireless Controller came with a surprising number of improvements and feature additions, despite its deceptively withdrawn design update. Two of the more intriguing features, at least for the end-user, was the addition of Bluetooth Low Energy support and the arrival of lower latency through Dynamic Latency Input (DLI). Now, thanks to a new firmware update Microsoft has begun testing, older Xbox controllers will also gain these features.

Microsoft is rolling out a new update to the Xbox Alpha Skip-Ahead and Alpha Insider branches, which test upcoming updates to the console platform. Today, the new update includes a firmware release for the Xbox One Wireless Controller, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, and the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The update adds support for Bluetooth LE and DLI to the aging accessories, which should improve latency while gaming but, most importantly, the effectiveness of the controllers when paired with multiple devices, or when gaming while connected to Bluetooth.

Now, just like the newer Xbox Series X|S controllers, the three aforementioned accessories will be able to pair to an Xbox console and a Bluetooth-connected device (like a gaming PC, phone, or tablet) at the same time, and switch between the two with a double-press of the pairing button. Bluetooth connections should also be more stable, making the older controllers better equipped to handle Xbox Cloud Gaming on a phone or tablet.

The firmware update is currently being tested in the earlier Insider branches for Xbox players, but should steadily roll out to more branches (and eventually the public) in the coming weeks. It was already great to see Xbox embrace backward compatibility with Xbox Series X|S, but it's even cooler to see older Xbox accessories gain newer features (especially the Xbox One controller).

If you'd rather obtain all the new features and benefits of newer accessories, however, the best Xbox Series X|S controllers should all be compatible with Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles, and offer incredible experiences at a variety of price points.

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.