Microsoft spent "hundreds of millions" designing Xbox One controller

Xbox Accessories general manager Zulfi Alam says pressure to deliver a worthwhile controller was "tremendous."

Microsoft spent "hundreds of millions" designing the Xbox One controller, Xbox Accessories general manager Zulfi Alam told CVG in a new interview.

"The investments in redesigning a controller go into the hundreds of millions of dollars in tooling and R&D costs," Alam said. "Bearing in mind we started with something that people considered best-in-class, the pressure to do it right again was tremendous."

"Honestly, some of us felt like we were putting our career on the line," he added. "We were afraid we were going to burn through $100 million and come back with an under-developed controller."

The Xbox One controller, which will sell for $60 outside of console bundles, features a number of updates over its predecessor. These include new thumbstick shape and grip texture, a redesigned D-Pad, and triggers with haptic feedback.

In addition, the Xbox One controller automatically knows who is playing when the controller is passed to a friend, thanks to the pad pairing with Kinect. Lastly, the battery pack is inside the controller's body, allowing players more room to hold the pad.

For more on the Xbox One controller, check out the video below and GameSpot's hands-on reactions. The Xbox One launches in November for $500.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

1758 comments
1stfloorguy
1stfloorguy

well...... i would fire the team that spent 100mil on just a  controller. and yes i played with the one controller and it isn't  revolutionary and it actually pinches your finger between the trigger and bumper sometimes. not bad but there's some catch. should not be anything wrong with a controller that cost more then the 6 million dollar man. I would see where that money was transfered to because 100 mil would be and embarrassment if that's what they got out of it. Pretty sure the new jets the government wants to buy are like 100million each to. i would wounder how much plastic they went threw and wonder how in the world could you spend 10% of a billion dollars. how much was spent on the actual system......

Mickael
Mickael

100's of millions of dollars and yet, they still managed to make sure that they weren't rechargable like the DualShock 3 and 4 both are.  Anti-consumer is what Micro$oft is all about.  

  They want you to buy their rechargeable battery packs, STILL. Oh, and their proprietary USB scam, so you can't get a decent 3rd party steering wheel without M$ making sure that they get a cut in the profits making the wheel more expensive and not what you want.  And then there's the proprietary hard drive's that you have to buy from them.  And then there's the REQUIRED Hard Drive install of EVERY game that you buy to ensure that the HD fills up in just a few months.  (these games are 30-45GB now)    No thanks.  Keep your gargage.  I'm buying a PS4. 

rav42
rav42

microsoft has billions of dollars dude 



CRYO_HAWK
CRYO_HAWK

Waste of fucking money I'd love to see them barely make a profit now just freaking stupid how retarded. And yet the Dual shock 4 is more advanced and way cooler and didn't even cost half that of what Micromoney spent to make a controller its almost funny!!!  

zimeron1
zimeron1

I work for a company that prints magazines for machine tooling companies.  Saying that that controller costs 100 times more than a machine the size of a house is utter lunacy. 

yman173
yman173

They didnt exactly invent anything. Its just a redesign. If they truly did spend all that money on R&D, you now know why they were trying to go after the used game sales so hard at first. M$ obviously doesnt know how to work on a budget.

jark888
jark888

Yeah D-pad looks much more playable on fighting games totally unlike the one on 360.

bezza2011
bezza2011

where did all that money go into they haven't exactly redesigned the controller it's exactly the same as the 360's except they've add tension packs to each trigger hmmmm llol

Keaze_
Keaze_

Why so much backlash about the investment in the controller?  I know many many people who won't play ps3 because they prefer the 360 controller, and others who wont play 360 because they like the ps3 controller.   The controller design is very important for a gaming console.

I am no Xbox fan but I agree that all the changes they made are very good.  The controller was too bulky and thick, the a b x y buttons too far apart, the joysticks too big, and the Dpad didnt feel right.  They fixed all of that and more.

ux1077
ux1077

100 million to design something that look almost like the old Xbox 360 controller, whatever they are paying those engineers, it is way too much.

milomell
milomell

come on Microsoft why have a next gen console and u still refuse to put an internal battery in the controller? the worst gaming experience u could ever had is when AA battery died on u

ghost2046
ghost2046

100 million dollars.... I call bs

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

I cannot think of a better example of the inefficiency these days of large-scale corporate operations than this. What an utter waste. Microsoft basically went full circle with this controller. All that money... could have gone to much better places.

ziqi92
ziqi92

Question: was that necessary?

Revl8n
Revl8n

Clearly M$ is suffering from an Epic lack of vision and leadership. Or the ability to do math. At $100k salary that works out to least 2000 man years of effort.

slavagen
slavagen

And it'll bring you money back from PC gamers)

whatshannenin
whatshannenin

Well...all of the preorders paid for the controller R&D...now for the system.

Shinobi120
Shinobi120

They spent all that money, & they didn't include internal batteries inside the controller that can be rechargeable with a USB cable? C'mon, Microsoft. You're starting to be like Nintendo on trying to go the cheap route.

The Sixaxis, the Dualshock 3, the Dualshock 4, & even the Wii U Gamepad all have internal batteries inside those controllers. Heck, the DS, & 3DS even has internal batteries inside their handhelds. Why can't you do the same with the Xbox One controller?

I bet that they probably haven't even fixed the D-Pad at all. This boggles the mind.

josh7845
josh7845

And here was me thinking it was just the AAA devs who were irresponsible with their budgets.

davros878
davros878

Just designing it? I could have done that for five dollars. I would've brought in the Xbox 360 controller and said, "make a slightly altered version of this please"

Fursnake
Fursnake

I think they overspent... a bit.

surferosh
surferosh

so much money.. for what ??  hardly any significant upgrade or change.. 

and does the new one still need AA sized batteries to work ?

frylock1987
frylock1987

Hundreds of millions of dollars on a controller you say?


Well...obviously the used game industry isn't hurting you that badly Microsoft.....

Romangelo
Romangelo

Spent millions to steal the buttons from Nintendo...

"Oh! we didn't stole it because we swapped the A-B and X-Y positions."

GTFO

Diamondsoulz
Diamondsoulz

We spent that money so Stever Ballmer could get a tummy tuck liposuction to his face using two prostitutes and a bottle of cocaine.

Joutja
Joutja

"In addition, the Xbox One controller automatically knows who is playing when the controller is passed to a friend, thanks to the pad pairing with Kinect. Lastly, the battery pack is inside the controller's body, allowing players more room to hold the pad."

Main bit I have issues with. First, does it have finger print readers or something?

Second, I can probably guess that the controller's condition will last a hell of a lot longer than the battery but rather than only having to buy a new battery now, instead we have to buy a new controller. I smell more money grabbing. 

Buck_Swaggler
Buck_Swaggler

Hundreds of millions designing a product that is ~10% different from what they already had?

WTF?

steelmouth
steelmouth

no wonder this companies lose a lot of money, I could have done the damn thing for 10mil

ThAdEa82
ThAdEa82

Ive spent millions on games too...so have all other gamers...

MJCx
MJCx

@CRYO_HAWK Waste of money? If anyone is stupid its you. A comfortable controller is very important, you don't want to end up with a piece of crap like the DualShock 3. Sony probably spent a ton of money designing their new controller as well.

Furthermore, they could potentially sell a 100 million gamepads, so they're guaranteed to recoup investment.

TORCEDOR
TORCEDOR

@zimeron1 I guess they r talking about cost in salaries +rent+ time +snacks+bills + experimental parts etc all rolled into one. not to forget it also leads to publicity.

Revl8n
Revl8n

Hello. Do you actually work for a company that manufactures anything. 200 million is a budget to complete the design of a jet engine... Not a hand held plastic device. This claim is simple bullshit!

crazyintheface
crazyintheface

@milomell Why would anyone want a built in battery? Rechargeable batteries have a limited life. I'd much rather buy new batteries instead of a new controller.

bilboad
bilboad

They said the numbers included R&D and retooling, so it sounds like they're including the costs of developing the new manufacturing facilities, plus all the test prototypes they would need to build while redesigning, not just salaries.

valknight
valknight

@surferosh You're so right. They should've added a touchpad that won't really do anything and a little light.. 

Yes it will use AA's or recharge packs, which I'm fine with. 

valknight
valknight

@Romangelo perhaps they should've used symbols and an x and a y..  

frylock1987
frylock1987

@Romangelo  

when I look at Wii U's "Classic Controller"

All I see is a shitty360 controller....so...safe to say Nintendo actually stole their controller designed....now if only Nintendo would actually steal ideas for Hardware that is actually good.....

DeusGladiorum
DeusGladiorum

@Joutja Well since the kinect is no longer mandatory to play it shouldn't be a huge issue. I'm no longer afraid of any "Big Brother is watching" scenarios now that I know that their main spy device is no longer necessary for the console to function. Also, I don't think they're saying that the battery is irremovable. They're just saying that there's no longer an external protruding chassis for the battery to be housed in. The battery should of course be entirely replaceable.  

Phreedom32
Phreedom32

@rgrambo ur right thumb being on the buttons most of the time MAKES it symmetrical fyi

valknight
valknight

@rgrambo Most people dislike the symmetrical analog sticks. They like them the way that they are. 

KommonSinse
KommonSinse

@Buck_Swaggler That's because the other 90% is perfect.

zimeron1
zimeron1

@TORCEDOR @zimeron1 I guess, but it's the same costs when considering a house-sized machine tool. You are paying for the raw materials as well as the time, salaries, and labor of the people working on it and their managers.  Just saying, its ridiculous for a plastic toy to be worth the same as a several hundred ton block of steel capable of producing millions of discrete parts a day.

bezza2011
bezza2011

@crazyintheface @milomell Really sounds to me like you've never had a ps3 hmmmmmm i've had 2 controllers since launch and they still work, the battery can be charged for a long playthrough within 5mins of charging, 10mins can last days. and yet you try to argue it.

surferosh
surferosh

@valknight @surferosh   ty.. and i am even more fine with having a touch pad and little light.. i like things that glow in the dark.. and something to touch ;)

ziqi92
ziqi92

@frylock1987 @Romangelo Clearly, you've never played with a SNES controller. The original button layout so commonly seen on all consoles these days originated from the SNES. Microsoft innovated nothing. Every "idea" they've ever had was stolen from Nintendo. The Kinect would not exist without the Wii. Smartglass would not exist without the Wii U.