Xbox Series X Controller to Feature Redesigned D-Pad That’s Closer to Elite’s Disc-Shaped One

The FPS Review may receive a commission if you purchase something after clicking a link in this article.

Image: Microsoft

The Xbox One controller is pretty darn good, but Microsoft has managed to make a number of key improvements for its successor, which will be bundled with the Xbox Series X.

One of the biggest changes lies with the d-pad. Instead of a simple cross, the Xbox team looked to the Elite Controller for inspiration and crafted something that’s more akin to its disc-shaped pad. Depending on how stiff or clicky it is, d-pad-reliant games such as fighters should be much more enjoyable to play.

Image: Microsoft

Xbox Wire: Why did you decide to change the design of the D-pad?

Ryan Whitaker: The new D-pad is about boosting performance and accessibility for all the ways people play. (And it’s one of my favorite parts of the new design.) When looking at the wide range of game genres and personal playstyles today, the D-pad is used in a lot of different ways. That’s why our Elite controllers have swappable D-pads. For some games, having crisp cardinal directions (up, down, left, right) with well-defined edges is what gamers need, and the cross is great for that. Some gamers need to hit accurate diagonals or perform sweep actions, which is where the facetted dish is designed to excel. And, of course, based on personal playstyles, some people just prefer one over the other.

Building on what we learned from Elite and watching how people use the D-pad, we designed a hybrid to deliver the best of both. It feels great. The slightly deeper dish gives your thumb a nice little “home” to sit in. The angles are finely tuned to give you a good amount of leverage with minimal movement. Gamers will notice a performance boost right out of the box.

The Xbox Series X will also feature a Share button that allows players to capture and, well, share content at the push of a button. Microsoft says that this process will be “instantaneous.”

Image: Microsoft

Xbox Wire: Why did you decide to add a Share button?

Ryan Whitaker: Gaming is an important way people connect with each other. It’s often how friends hang out and stay in touch. Capturing and sharing epic or meme-worthy moments are part of that experience and should be as quick and unobtrusive as possible. Adding a Share button is the best way to make capturing and sharing instantaneous. It’s easy to just grab a screenshot or record a video without needing on-screen menus. Then you can easily access and share content with your favorite social platforms or directly with friends.

Additionally, the controller should provide a better feel. Instead of a completely smooth surface, the Xbox Series X controller’s bumpers and triggers feature a pattern that should minimize any slip.

Image: Microsoft

Xbox Wire: The controller has some new textures and finishes. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

Ryan Whitaker: We added a tactile dot pattern on the triggers and bumpers, which provides grip to improve feel and performance during gameplay. That’s something we’ve had on special edition controllers and fans love it. Now it’s the new standard. A similar, yet more subtle pattern is on the grips. The D-pad, bumpers, and triggers now have a matte finish to maintain a smooth consistent feel, whether your hands are wet or dry.

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

Recent News