Microsoft talks up new features for the Xbox One controller.

XPG Darkside Jun 6, 2013

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    In the run-up to its big E3 presentation next week, Microsoft is rolling out new information about the Xbox One controller. The company says there are "more than 40 technology innovations" that make it better than the Xbox 360 version.

    Some of these new features were discussed (and experienced directly) at Microsoft's Xbox One reveal event last month, such as rumbling impulse triggers, a new cross-shaped d-pad, and analog sticks that are more precise and require less force to move. But the company has now described other features in detail for the first time.

    For instance, the Xbox One controller "uses a combination of invisible reflective technology and LEDs" to allow the controller to be detected by the Kinect. Microsoft stresses that this allows the system to track who is holding which controller and even switch which side each person has in a split-screen game. Theoretically, we could see a similar feature used for PlayStation Move-style controller tracking as well.

    While the Xbox One controller is designed to work wirelessly on 2 AA batteries, it can also be plugged into the system through a standard mini-USB cable to conserve battery power.

    This would presumably also let the controller work easily with PC games, a la the wired Xbox 360 controller, but Microsoft hasn't formally discussed this kind of use yet.

    The Xbox One controller will transfer into a "low power state" rather than turning off completely after periods of prolonged use, conserving the battery while maintaining an instant sync with the system once it's picked up again. This should be welcome news to anyone who has struggled to pause an Xbox 360 video quickly after their controller automatically powers off.

    A higher data transfer rate between the Xbox One and the controller will allow clearer audio communications over headsets, Microsoft says, promising performance that "will be in many cases clearer than talking on a phone."

    Microsoft is also making a big deal of the way the Xbox One controller feels in a player's hands, with new positions for the face buttons and new angles for the analog triggers.

    The new controller was reportedly "tested extensively by a broader age group than ever before to ensure it is optimized for as many people as possible," which should be welcome news to smaller-handed players.

    In our brief hands-on time with an Xbox One controller prototype, the new controller felt mostly familiar. But it was a little strange after years of holding an Xbox 360 controller. We're looking forward to getting a lot more direct use with these innovations next week at E3.

    Source MS

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