An early Xbox One controller prototype could emit smells designed to match the events taking place on screen, Microsoft has said.
While the idea never made it out of Microsoft's R&D department, a version of the smell-making controller physically exists in the company's archives, according to a VentureBeat report chronicling Microsoft's development of the Xbox One controller from its Xbox 360 predecessor,
“We built small slugs of different types of smells that could actually come out of a controller,” explained Xbox general manager for accessories Zulfi Alam. “Like, as you walked through a jungle, you’d smell the flora.”
“We had a whole bunch of brainstorm sessions and built hundreds of models,” said Alam, who also spoke about a controller which contained a tiny projector that could conjure images around the the player's immediate vision.
The company also experimented with features used by Sony and Nintendo in the PlayStation 4 and Wii U, including a touchpad, camera, and speakers. According to Alam, "each one of these ideas fell down."
All in all, Microsoft spent over $100 million on researching the Xbox One controller. “I don’t want to go into specifics, but it’s over $100 million for sure," said Alam. "Between the tooling of the device, the investments we made in process technology, and the engineering work that went into it, we invested a lot to get this thing right.”
The Xbox One will be released this Friday, November 22.