New 360 controller to feature transforming D pad

Microsoft addresses oft-made complaint with a new wireless pad due out November 9 with play-and-charge kit for $65.

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In the past five years, Microsoft has encountered a number of complaints regarding its Xbox 360 hardware. The most vociferous of those were likely related to critical hardware failures, but not far behind were gripes about the standard Xbox 360 controller's D pad, which players felt yielded insufficiently precise inputs for some games like Lumines Live or Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting.

The D pad on the new controller in its raised configuration.
The D pad on the new controller in its raised configuration.

The former complaint has largely been addressed with extended warranties and newly redesigned Xbox 360 systems. The latter one could also have a solution on the way, as Xbox Live director of programming Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb has revealed that a newly redesigned Xbox 360 controller will be released later this year.

"We've heard from the community that you're not big fans of the D pad, so the engineers went back into the laboratory and came up with this ingenious solution," Nelson explained in a YouTube video introducing the controller.

The solution is a patented D pad that switches from a disc configuration to a raised plus sign by twisting the pad around. The new pad will also feature a revised color scheme with buttons in shades of gray instead of the candy-colored gems Microsoft has used since the debut of the original Xbox. Hryb said the pad also boasts other improvements, though he didn't specify what those were.

The pursuit of precision comes with a price, as the new controller will only be available bundled with Microsoft's play-and-charge controller kit for $65. The new controller will be available in the US November 9, with a European debut expected sometime in February.

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