The Xbox Series X wireless controller has a new D-pad design and share button

By Heidi Nicholas,
Microsoft has surprise-dropped a whole slew of new Xbox Series X information, including an interview about the new wireless controller to be included with the Xbox Series X when it releases later this year. The controller has a whole new D-pad, better ergonomics, and is designed with inclusivity in mind, while Xbox are also staying faithful to the popularity of the current controller and honouring the "muscle memory" players have honed with it.

Xbox Series X controller

Xbox are aiming to improve performance, accessibility, inclusivity, compatibility, and connectivity with this new controller. The new design of the D-pad incorporates this. In an Xbox Wire interview, Ryan Whitaker, Senior Designer at Xbox, says the new design is a "hybrid" of the "crisp cardinal directions", "well-defined edges", and "accurate diagonals" of the swappable D-pads for the Elite controllers. "The slightly deeper dish" of the new D-pad, says Whitaker, "gives your thumb a nice little “home” to sit in. The angles are finely tuned to give you a good amount of leverage with minimal movement. Gamers will notice a performance boost right out of the box."

Xbox Series X controller

The controller also has some new textures: a "tactile dot pattern on the triggers and bumpers" for a better grip, with a "similar, yet more subtle pattern" for the grips and a matte finish for the D-pad, bumpers, and triggers. There's also a new Share button will make "capturing and sharing instantaneous", without the need for on-screen menus.

Xbox Series X controller

Xbox has a big focus on adaptability and inclusivity, and Whitaker says that "being more inclusive" was "part of the design process from the very beginning" when creating the new controller. That's true of everything we make at Xbox," he continues. "We ask ourselves and gamers, 'How can we make gaming a better experience for everyone?'" The new controller therefore fits "a wider range of hand sizes", with the intention of improving the accessibility and comfort of a wider range of gamers. To do this, they rounded the bumpers and sculpted the grips, as well as "slightly reducing and rounding parts around the triggers".

They're also concentrating on the compatibility and connectivity of the controller. The new controller will support cross-compatibilty between the Xbox Series X and Xbox One, and gamers will be able to play on more devices, which Whitaker says includes the PC, Android, and iOS. They're also utilising Bluetooth Low Energy for a quicker and easier pairing of devices. The controller will also be able to remember other devices, so that it's quicker to switch between them. It'll also have a USB-C port to charge with a "modern cable".

Xbox Series X controller

Whitaker says the design team are reducing latency with a "system-wide set of improvements" called Dynamic Latency Input. This "includes specific technology in the console and the HDMI connection to your TV. And it all starts with the controller", Whitaker says. "Essentially, information is sent more frequently from the controller and matched with exact frames of your game on-screen. The result: we shave off precious milliseconds at every step of gameplay, and actions are even more instantaneous." Lastly, he confirms that back-compatibility with accessories such as the Chatpad or headset will still work from day one.
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!