Disclaimer: I do not, in any shape or form despise the Xbox One Elite Controller. What my statements pertain to are from experience with third party peripherals as well as from a financial standpoint. As such, this isn’t a thread to deter those who are interested in the product, but to offer my two cents. That being stated, onto my opinion.
So, a couple of days back we got the first glimpse of a new controller that Microsoft unveiled in the form of the Elite Controller. At first, looking at the device, I easily got Scuf Gaming vibes in their product; the Scuf Gaming Controller. Paddles, interchangeable thumbsticks (more so convenient than the Scuf), and tension settings for the triggers were all in similar cases with the Scuf product. However, a couple new ideas did catch my eye. The Elite can not only switch said D-pad, but also the paddles as well; more flexibility and versatility as a result. Initially, I was impressed. Sure, this does have some serious Scuf-esque design written all over it, but there was a ton of promise. Well… that promise would come at a steep price.
Much akin to the Scuf Gaming Controller, I did anticipate for Microsoft to have this controller in the three digit range; $120 tops being my guess. However, we got the official price as $150. This is a much better deal than Scuf’s $200+ asking price; the Elite having more flexibility and versatility as a result, but we, as gamers, need to understand the context of the item itself. For $150, you are paying quite a bit for a controller. At the same token, the benefits may outweigh the cost. If you are a heavy First Person or Third Person shooter game, this is quite the appealing product. Much of the Elites design predicates itself on two key areas;
1.) Reflexes: How well you fingers move throughout the device to obtain the necessary inputs for the correct action. This is done upon the positioning of your fingers; preference included.
2.) Reaction Speeds: How fast your fingers can move. Again, apply positioning and preference to this.
This ultimately culminates into a higher degree of success. Furthermore, with the interchangeable thumbsticks/paddles and tension settings, this easily can contend and beat Scuf: recently more so since their product longevity has not been up to their Xbox 360/PS3 standards. This makes the Elite a revolution in terms of function and design right? Well, here is where things go south.
Recall to what I stated about the Scuf Gaming Controller. Scuf has had these same form of features since the days of Modern Warfare 2. While the Elite definitely has some tricks that make it more appealing, Scuf was the actual controller that helped evolve the controller into something throat is more fine tuned for a particular set of genres. Again, the favor still goes to the Elite. Even today, $200+ for a controller is nothing to scoff at. Furthermore, that additional $50+ can be used for other gaming needs. However, the issues regarding the Elite do not stop there.
Not only did Microsoft borrow concepts from Scuf, they also borrowed the Major League Gaming Controller from MadCatz. This controller most likely will not receive an iteration for the current generation, but its modular design paved the way for flexibility. Interchangeable Thumbsticks and the D-Pad were first seen on this controller back in 2012. Again, Microsoft should he commended for such hard work, but shortly after the discontinuation of the Pro Circuit Controller, there were literally 9 different thumbstick and 3 different D-Pad options that MadCatz had attempted to sell at the exact same price to what the Elite is going for now.
The Pro Circuit does not have the tension settings or paddles, but it did have multiple options for gamers to utilize. To make matters even more intriguing, the Pro Circuit controller allowed you to place your analogs sticks in either the 360 or PS3 configuration. This isn’t a dock on the Elite due to the fact that said sticks would drive up the Elites price even higher, but the thumbstick and additional D-pad options should be something Microsoft offers in addition to the concave and convex options. However, we still have to address one big nasty thorn in the Elite Controller’s side.
Recall how I stated the Elite’s key areas are based on reflexes and reaction speeds. Well, there is another competitor that not only does have a current gen iteration, but also takes said two key areas to the same level as the Elite and potentially even more. This final competitor is called the Avenger Reflex from N-Control. Most likely when you look it up or if you do, you will notice its appearance is quite interesting; a cyborg spider that latches onto your controller. While this sounds and looks asinine on paper, in practice, the Reflex can keep up with the Elite theoretically. Since the Elite borrows concepts from the Scuf, let us take a look at that for a second. Weird cyborg arms that rely on your index fingers and rubber hoops l to configure the tension settings for your triggers vs. interchangeable paddles/thumbsticks/D-pad and tension settings for the triggers.
The Elite easily has the Reflex beat in customization. However, notice that the tension settings are the same for both. In addition, one product is an add-on, the other is a controller. We are seeing quite a disturbing pattern here. The Elite and Reflex both are to increase reflexes and reaction speeds. Both offer up stellar options. The core issue lies in the price; $150 vs. $70. As we have already touched upon, a savings give you more versatility overall. Also, consider the fact that when you do buy an Xbox One, you already obtain what you need for the Reflex in the regular Xbox One Controller.
If anything, you could drop $70 to make your regular Xbox One Controller an Elite minus the versatility. That being said, said takeaway is going to impact your decision, which brings me to my overall view on the Elite Controller.
I overall have mixed feelings towards this controller. On one end, it utilizes many great concepts from its indirect predecessors to create one fine joystick. Furthermore, Microsoft is backing this, so quality should be exceptional On the other hand, it doesn’t do much that I haven’t seen before. Worst of all, there is an alternative to this device of you already have the regular controller; ultimately bringing the cost of the Elite in question for me. While I do like what it offers, for what crowd it is going after, there are options that are just as capable in the Scuf or just as cost efficient in the Avenger Reflex. Again, time will tell what the Elite receives, but as of now, there are better options.
For more about each of the controllers mentioned, head on over to their websites:
That concludes my thoughts on the Xbox Elite Controller. What are your thoughts on the Elite? Do you believe the price is too high? Are all the parts a concern for you in terms of longevity? Do you believe Microsoft will add any additional color schemes or other bells and whistles to the controller itself? Sound off in the comments below!
About the Writer:
He grew up between the gaming boundaries on the 5th generation N64, but admiring the 3rd gen. NES and 4th gen. Genesis for their contributions, he always has something on his mind regarding video games and the accessories they function with. His first microphone for the N64 for “Hey You, Pikachu!”, but expanded towards the next line up of gaming peripherals including the Astro A40, MadCatz MLG Pro Circiut Controller, MadCatz STRIKE 7, and other gaming gadgets. Now loving gaming tech more than ever, he sees this generation crucial to bring the full circle of social connectivity that the 7th. generation of gaming consoles started.