You read that right, Microsoft somehow made a controller that just might be worth the ridiculous $150 price tag. Ever since the announcement of the Elite Controller, I have been more than skeptical that it would be anything other than a minor improvement over the already solid Xbox One controller. Honestly, I thought it was just a way to get more money out of Xbox fanboys to make up for the price cut last year. Every once in a while though, I’m OK with being wrong. The Elite seems more like a PC and Xbox player’s wet dream than shelf decoration.
Let’s start out simple. Before even pairing it up a console, the Xbox Elite Controller is obviously a solidly made piece of hardware, even more so than the console. It comes in a hard case, which nicely keeps track of the interchangeable pieces of the controller when not in use. Three sets of triggers are included, two different kinds of d-pads and a pair of interchangeable sticks. Everything feels like it is made of high-quality material and should hold up well over thousands of uses. The thumb sticks click in magnetically, which gives me hope that the inner mechanism is well protected and won’t pick up small problems along the way as I have experienced with the normal XBO controller. Another important feature is the ability to customize the travel of the Elite Controller’s triggers which can increase performance in different game types.
The controller feels extremely natural and solid when in my hands. It feels like I’m holding something that cost $150. The physical customization isn’t crazy, but the software side takes it to the next level. It is possible to remap the controller’s buttons on the Xbox One. This may not be an important feature to PC players who can do that with any controller ever made, but for serious console only players this can be a game changer, literally. This is all done in the downloadable Xbox Accessories app. A slider on the back of the controller allows for quick changing between different saved controller configurations. While I didn’t personally use this feature much, I can see how it could be great for a variety of games like first person shooters where one might want a different control setup for different weapons. The Elite Controller allows for this to happen quickly and smoothly in game which could certainly help in a competitive online situation.
Now for the one terrible annoying thing about this controller which makes absolutely no since to me. The Xbox Elite controller does not come with a rechargeable battery pack. That’s right, this $150 controller requires two AA batteries, not included. Um, what? Surely Microsoft could have included the $20 rechargeable kit in their ridiculous expensive controller, right?
I feel that the Xbox Elite controller will actually be used mainly on PC. Console gamers are often not very likely to spend ridiculous amounts of money on their gaming experience. I mean much of the console gamer crowd is yet to move up to the current generation of consoles! PC gamers, though, who often throw down over a grand for a PC build may be much more likely to invest in a high quality gamepad, especially when so many PC gamers are looking for a new controller after seeing the disappointment of the Steam Controller.
So, is the new Xbox Elite Controller worth the money? Well, that depends on how much you have? If the price means you would have to do without buying two new games this holiday season, it’s not worth it. If you are willing to spend money to improve the gaming experience on top of just buying new games, this controller might be worth it to you. I could certainly see this controller being the way for gamers to cement their status as a “real gamer”, even if that is a ridiculous thing to do. The Elite Controller is certainly the best console controller made to date. There is a problem for console gamers though. To use the Elite Controller you have to play on the Xbox instead of PS4…