The Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller, in its default configuration. Unlike 2015’s design, which had a silver bar on its top, this one has a totally smooth black exterior. I prefer this unified design, personally. [credit: Sam Machkovech ]
There isn’t much room left to refine Xbox’s vision of a standard game controller. That seems crazy when we remember design history like 2001’s Duke or the 1990s’ Sidewinder, but once the Xbox 360 pad emerged, that was pretty much that. Microsoft proved itself a controller-design titan with the 360, and we’ve only seen gentle touch-ups in the decade-plus since.
The exception comes in the form of the Xbox Elite Controller, a $150 fork that debuted in 2015 as a rare example of a premium-priced controller coming directly from a console maker. (You have to go back to Nintendo’s lap-sized Advantage from 1986 for a comparable peer.)
Was Elite a good product? On paper, yes. But we struggled to believe it earned its $150 price tag.
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