Could A Completely New Elite Controller Be On The Way?

Elite Controller

We love our Elite Wireless Controllers. The Elite – which raised some eyebrows on its initial reveal – quickly became the must-have peripheral, its form and function easily matching the high asking price. We gave it a full five stars at launch, and a year later it made our 2016 Christmas Gift list. It’s just that good.

Could it be ripe for a makeover? Maybe. The standard controller has reached its third generation, after the June 2015 update added a 3.5mm audio jack and removed the IR emitters, and the recent redesign to add Bluetooth connectivity.

Our friends over at Windows Central have unearthed a patent filed in March this year but only just made public, hinting a revised controller could be on the cards. One of the things we noted in our review was that the Elite lacked any way of changing trigger pull resistance – a small omission in an otherwise outstanding package. If this patent is anything to go by, Microsoft are eyeing up an all together more radical future for triggers – replaceable ones.

Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller

Which makes sense. The magnetically-attached d-pad, thumb sticks and paddles are a triumph, so why shouldn’t this mix and match approach be extended to the triggers? Thus far, alternative component parts have been difficult to come by – only a few game-themed offerings from PowerA have hit the market, and not in every territory. The recent Scuf exclusivity announcement might mean there will be more custom bits coming our way – and if a new gen Elite is in the works, this might include replacement triggers, too.

The patent includes some examples of differently-shaped triggers – and while all we care about in shooters is how fast we can pull the trigger, we can see how a longer, lever shaped trigger might give even more precise control over the degree of pull – obviously useful in driving games, but we can imagine other, more unusual implementations, too. And we can imagine the marketing opportunities, too, as big name devs ship their own custom triggers, building on products like PowerA’s recent Gears of War component kit.

“Microsoft are eyeing up an all together more radical future for triggers – replaceable ones.”
The patent shows that the triggers will also be magnetically attached, and we’ve had no issues whatsoever with paddles or thumb sticks coming loose mid-play, so we imagine triggers attached this way would be just as sturdy.

Of course, we’ve taken the patent and sprinted happily off into a world of speculation and unicorns. It might be too much Christmas sherry – after all, there are patents for thousands of products that never made it to market. Then again, Microsoft is planning to launch a high-end, premium ultra-console in time for the 2017 holiday season… A redesigned Elite controller would be, we feel, the icing on that particular Xbox cake.

Windows Central has done a great job of breaking down the patent, so head on over for some detailed technical diagrams if that’s your thing.

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