Xbox One Controller: Built for competition?

Could the new Xbox One controller be made for competitive play? Will the added rumble pack make gamers uneasy? Only time will tell, this Holiday Season.

This week has been an exciting one for fans of the Call of Duty series of first-person shooters with the multiplayer reveal being released two days ago. More importantly, the reveal also gave Xbox fans a chance to see how the new and improved Xbox One controller will function in fast-paced gameplay. Spoiler: It looks like Microsoft may have improved upon its already popular design in a big way.

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The New Controller

Microsoft spent a good amount of time testing different controller designs before selecting the design that will ship with the new Xbox One in the Fall. The one they have chosen is sleeker and is much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. However, the real difference will be in how the controller functions when gamers get their hands on it. 

Microsoft has reduced the size of each thumb stick on the controller which could take some time getting used to. The big difference will be that the thumb stick now has a wider range of motion and requires less movement to cause a reaction on-screen. This change is the one that brings up the idea that the Xbox One controller may be built with competitive play in mind.

The Xbox 360 is possibly the most popular console being used for competition at this time and it would make sense for Microsoft to cater to competitive players. Which is not a bad thing because casual gamers will be benefitting from this strategy as well!  

One Potential Killer to my Theory

I would be doing a disservice if I did not point out one thing that nullifies my competitive play theory and that is the added rumble packs to the controller. Rumble packs are what cause the controller to vibrate when a specific action is done in-game, and some competitive players do not like these being part of the controller. So much so, that some companies produce Xbox 360 controllers without rumble packs as well as some other customizations specifically for competitive players. 

Microsoft has also added rumble packs to the triggers as well so that would defeat the purpose of the controllers being intended for competition. However, rumble packs are generally easy to remove from a controller so it should not mean that the Xbox One controllers will not be used by competitive players. With all the benefits the controller offers, the extra rumble packs are something of a minor gripe and I still support the idea that the Xbox One controller is at least partly competition-inspired.

The Xbox One released on November 22nd and I reviewed the console in detail including the new Xbox One controller.  My main concern with the impulse triggers has been nullified because Microsoft has made them discreet enough to not affect gameplay.  The motors vibrate just enough in first-person shooters to feel as if you are firing a gun, and it does not really seem to affect my accuracy at all.

As the competitve scene makes the transition to next-gen, it will be interesting to see how professional players react to the Xbox One controller.  Overall, Microsoft improved upon an already stellar design and added some tweaks that make a huge difference.

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Public Relations major at Virginia Commonwealth University. Fan of all types of video games, old and new.