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Xbox Elite Controller shortage was because Microsoft 'totally underestimated' demand

Who knew a $150 controller would be such a hot item?

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller was in short supply throughout the holiday season, and Microsoft's chief marketing officer has an explanation why: They thought the customizable controller's steep $150 price tag would mean demand was a lot lower.

"Here's the product we totally underestimated," Chris Capossela told Windows Weekly. Capossela said that after the controller was introduced at E3, the feedback Microsoft received (remember, this is an industry event, so this is likely from retailers) was that "maybe the price was a little too high." That information governed how many controllers Microsoft made. The controller launched in late October and it was very clearly positioned as a luxury item.

Fast forward to the week before Black Friday, and Capossela and his deputies toured a bunch of stores where all they heard about the controller was "make more."

In November, Microsoft warned of supply shortages throughout the month even though new shipments were being expected every week. The Elite controller was also part of a $500 console bundle that didn't seem to have trouble staying in stock.

The Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller is currently out of stock in the online storefronts for Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and GameStop. However at GameStop, a $199.99 bundle pairing the unit with Halo 5: Guardians is available. For more on why the controller is such a hot item, even at that cost, see our video below on the customization options it offers.

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