Microsoft acknowledges Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 hardware issues

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2
Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 buyers are reporting out-of-box issues with Microsoft's latest flagship gamepad.
  • A sizeable number of users report problems affecting buttons, wireless connectivity, thumbsticks, and more.
  • Microsoft has acknowledged the problem and is investigating.

Update November 14: Following a request for comment alongside our original report, Microsoft has acknowledged issues reported with the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2. The platform holder has launched an investigation with aid from internal engineering teams, providing this statement to Windows Central on the matter:

At Microsoft, we put all of our products through rigorous quality assurance testing. However, like any hardware, there is the possibility that a small percentage of devices may experience issues. We are aware that a small number of users may be experiencing issues with the Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 and are actively investigating with our engineering teams. We encourage any customers who experience issues with their hardware to contact Xbox Support.

The original story follows:

Microsoft recently launched the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, the second-generation revision of its flagship gamepad, aimed at Xbox One and Windows PCs. The premium $180 accessory sets out to deliver leading comfort and experience in its class, boasting customizable components and heavyweight design.

Those ambitions are similar to the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller, first debuted in 2015, although now refreshed with adjustable thumbstick tension, wireless charging, and Bluetooth, among other enhancements. But that follows the original design, which was plagued with well-documented shortcomings and poor durability. Peeling grips and faulty bumper buttons were among common issues, which Microsoft appears to have fixed with Series 2.

We received the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 ahead of launch and walked away impressed throughout the weeks. While long-term durability is difficult to gauge, the improved gamepad exhibited clear refinements and matching build quality with the price tag. But with Series 2 shipping to the public from November 4, it's been a week of issues for some customers.

Xbox Elite Series 2

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

Xbox Elite Series 2 buyers have taken to the web to share their frustration, reporting out-of-box issues with Microsoft's latest design. Like the original Elite, quality appears to be a mixed bag, as a mega-thread of disgruntled buyers hits the Xbox One subreddit, while some report flawless hassle-free experiences. Hiccups are natural for any new product launch, although they're only further emphasized by a variety of problems against that premium $180 price tag.

One Windows Central staff member had two faulty controllers — with a third on the way.

The most prominent issue appears to stem from the Xbox Elite Series 2's face buttons – primarily the A, B, X, and Y ensemble. Many report sticky or unresponsive buttons, essentially rendering the controller unfeasible for everyday gaming. One Windows Central staff member experienced the same issue with two Series 2 controllers purchased from Best Buy, with his third device currently in transit as a replacement.

We've also heard of numerous instances of inconsistent connectivity, both over the Xbox One's proprietary wireless connection and the newly-integrated Bluetooth. Stick issues include failing to center after being pushed or "drifting," where thumbsticks register inputs when not physically moved. Some report reactions to the new rubberized grip, with one Reddit user claiming the material causes their "hands to itch and sweat." The Xbox Elite Series 2 mega-thread compiles many of these issues on the Xbox One subreddit, matching our experience alongside further faults.

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

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

The full scale of Xbox Elite Series 2 controller issues is unclear, though highlights apparent troubles surrounding the product, even with Microsoft's second crack at the flagship. The first-generation Xbox Elite was infamous for its shortcomings, claiming fixes in 2019, although it appears to have sprouted new issues for Microsoft. It's possible with any product launch but shows a steadily-developing poor reputation for the Elite line amid consumer concerns. It's a shame really — as we said the Series 2 could be the best controller ever made.

We'd love to hear your experience with the Xbox Elite Series 2 in the meantime, via the comments or Windows Central Gaming on Twitter.

For those experiencing issues with the Xbox Elite Series 2, we recommend contacting your retailer for further steps on a replacement. For those unaffected, check all inputs via the Xbox accessories app, and look out for potential defects.



Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.