An early Xbox One controller prototype could produce its own smells

Microsoft reveals some of its more outlandish ideas for the Xbox One controller.

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.

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Discussion

142 comments
tightwad34
tightwad34

Technology sure is a weird thing. If they can do this but they can't get a lot of the mechanics in games or enemy AI to be realistic it makes one wonder(at least me). Still the idea seems great, but there of course would be a lot of downsides. Gotta get rid of the bad aromas firsthand. Then again, there will be people who would want the shit smells and whatnot to enhance the realism. I could handle it, but I wouldn't want to be caught off guard.

soulless4now
soulless4now

lol Really?

That's taking gaming to another level, but that means it would've made the console more expensive. 

cctv100
cctv100

OK, get my Cooking Mama

superveka
superveka

i would like to see that controller in action i mean wtf ?  from what it produces smells and so many smells ? 

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

Remake Silent Hill 2 for that controller lol.  The vomit scene alone would cause a lot of returns or broken controllers.

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

X1 and PS4 both smell. 

Paul2004
Paul2004

So your walking around AC4 and can smell the dog shit :P ?. Interesting idea but i dont think its workable....how the hell did they get a working model anyway ?, scented refills from the air freshener ?.

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

I'd hate to see what would happen if this controller made it to market and a character in the game decided to take a dump.

However, I actually think the idea they present here is really cool. Smell definitely could add to the immersion of a game. It's just that in gaming these days what you may be smelling probably wouldn't be all that desirable. I cite any zombie game as a perfect example.

hadlee73
hadlee73

I still remember Scratch and Sniff. Please don't bring this concept back. lol

Hurvl
Hurvl

As if that wasn't the only thing that smelled funny about the Xbox One.

GameYakuza
GameYakuza

did you know? Polyester: the game is a launch title

thisBlueDude
thisBlueDude

This controller feels so much better than the 360's. Everything about it is going to make MS have the #1 controller again this time around.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

100 million researching stuff like smell producing controllers, why didn't they spend that money making a long lasting reusable battery. The fact it still uses AA batteries isn't very "next gen"

mattress805
mattress805

And you still have to buy batteries for it?! Lol

bouchart
bouchart

Over $100 million to design a controller is nothing to brag about.  It shows lack of focus and the inability to control the development process.

As for a controller that produces smells, remember that shooters are the bread-and-butter for the Xbox.  Like anyone would really want to play their games with the smell of gunpowder, decomposing bodies and burnt flesh.

Horndawgie
Horndawgie

I wonder what the cost of batteries is versus charging the controller through the system, and please don't say it doesn't cost anything to charge through the system. One of the basic laws of physics is that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred. Thus, you are NOT charging your PS4 controller for free, because you ARE using more electricity to charge it. I can't find any info on what the actual costs are versus using batteries. And I found it a hassle to hook the PS3 up while playing but I guess the PS4 it can charge while off. 

Anyway the X1 does have a recharge pack for more money, but at least it's there. I actually like the extra weight of the battery pack giving the controller more heft. It's not the controller that worries me, but the esram bottlenecking the system. According to what I have read, this is the Achilles heel causing devs much problems. And by all indications it does look like a major problem for now, and one that will keep me from buying one.

kulkun1
kulkun1

They already did something like this on the 360, didn't they? You'd be playing CoD or BF and you'd smell the fires and explosions. Of course later you'd realize your power supply had burst into flames.

sunbeam4
sunbeam4

M$ explored possibilities but keep it simple. a back touchpad is a real miss.

drdischord
drdischord

Everything else from Microsoft smells.  Why would this product be different?

RossRichard
RossRichard

Wow, I thought MS was being insane at E3. They apparently got saner before then.

Karchy
Karchy

I wonder how arrogance smells..

jhcho2
jhcho2

In the futile debates of profit and loss of MS and Sony, I wonder if lemmings ever take such foolish expenditure into consideration. This 100 million dollars would probably render MS unable to make a profit for the first year of X1's lifecycle. If that money was actually an investment which could yield something in return, it would be another story, but I doubt it. And after all that, what do we get? A controller pretty similar to last gen, and using AA batteries....in the year 2013.

rufusamatrix
rufusamatrix

MS really, really should have never revealed that.

Welcome to the mockery smellstorm...!

BrutalPandaX2
BrutalPandaX2

damn they are just throwing money around at ludicrous ideas

limbo12
limbo12

if the system looks like shit, why shouldn't the controller smell like it...amiright?

MapleLeafKush
MapleLeafKush

M$ spent over $100 million on a controller that still runs on batteries LMAO!!!!

tightwad34
tightwad34

Almost forgot, but what about the smells that may trigger a bad reaction for some people? You know how they say scent is the largest trigger tied to memory as far a senses go, and that's damn true if you ask me.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@hadlee73 I know. The most primitive non-technology technology. Brings back many of memories.

ted_mongel
ted_mongel

If you can't afford the $25 recharge kit you shouldn't be spending $500 on a system. I appreciate the option.

adriel623
adriel623

@bouchart I don't think you  have the slightest idea of what goes on in the R&D sector of a company like Microsoft. There's a reason why the Xbox controller is the top controller out.

thisBlueDude
thisBlueDude

@bouchart That would be so awesome now that you mention it. People could start suffering from Post Traumatic Gaming Disorder.....sweet.

tdavis20050
tdavis20050

@Horndawgie Batteries are hundreds to thousands of times more expensive than a rechargeable controller.  http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/cost_of_power  There are some figures for you. Standard alkaline AA batteries cost $300USD per kWh, the power that comes out of your wall costs on average $0.10 per kWh.  Batteries are a waste of money.  Even rechargeable batteries cost you $8-25 per kWh.

adriel623
adriel623

@MapleLeafKush Anything that would've powered it would still be considered a battery/energy source. Logic inexistent. 

capernaught
capernaught

@ted_mongel If you are spending $500 on a system then you shouldn't't have to pay extra for a recharge kit. See how that works?

tightwad34
tightwad34

@capernaught MS is no different and you can't tell me that with a straight face. Any multi billion dollar company is going to be like that. Common sense.

hystavito
hystavito

@funkinslick @Soundaholic92 @capernaught @ted_mongel I'm going to assume it still works when wired via the micro-USB port.

Actually if I recall correctly it only works wired by default, with wireless mode only available to Xbox Live Gold subscribers.

funkinslick
funkinslick

@Soundaholic92 @capernaught @ted_mongel I've gone back to just using a wired controller and not have to worry about batteries or poorly performing to unusable rechargeable packs. Much simpler and I don't have to worry about the controller going out in the midst of battle. Now here's the question: Is there a wired version of the xbone controller?

Soundaholic92
Soundaholic92

@capernaught @ted_mongel I'd much prefer to use batteries I could get from anywhere than proprietary ones. Though I already have a large supply of rechargeable AA batteries I normally use for my camera flashes