e3 2015

Hands On With Microsoft's New Elite Controller

by Jeff Cork on Jun 16, 2015 at 06:35 PM

Microsoft announced yesterday that it was releasing a new controller for the Xbox One and PC this October, and we were able to get our hands on the device, which is aimed squarely at pro-level players.

When you pick it up, what's immediately apparent is that the Elite weighs a bit more than the standard-issue inputs. Microsoft says that's because its internal components incorporate materials such as stainless steel to ensure that they hold up to the intense wear that competitive players put them through. For people who live by the scale, it weighs 348g stripped bare, increasing by 15g when batteries, sticks, and all of its other do-dads are installed.

Both of the sticks can be removed with a firm tug, and replaced with included variants. There are four sticks similar to the default Xbox One controller's (two pairs of higher and lower versions), as well as a pair of convex rubberized thumbsticks, which are similar to the ones you'd find on a DualShock controller. The d-pad is magnetized, and can be lifted out and swapped between a traditional plus shape or a circular, faceted alternative, On the back, you'll find four hair-trigger paddles, which can be adjusted with switches.

Microsoft will be releasing an app on Windows 10 and Xbox One to further tweak the controller, including sensitivity settings and button remapping. Players can create game-specific profiles, too.

The Elite will be coming this October for Windows 10 and Xbox One for $150.


Our Take
That price seems pretty steep, and it's bound to generate a lot of flak. Here's the thing, though: This is a controller designed for professional gamers. Most of us will do just fine with the standard ones, but it only makes sense for Microsoft to get into the high-end market,, too. After all, players are already spending loads of money on third-party alternatives, since there wasn't an official option – until this fall.