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Microsoft details changes for Xbox Series X wireless controller

USB-C, Xbox One compatibility, headphone jack included

Xbox Series X controller Image: Microsoft
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

On Monday, Microsoft revealed a whole bunch of new details on its next-generation console, the Xbox Series X — full specs, tech demos, and details on the new wireless controller.

The console is expected to be released in holiday 2020, and with it, players will get a new controller, which is said to be improved upon the Xbox One controller “in smart, revolutionary ways.” Microsoft outlined the controller’s details in an interview with Xbox senior designer Ryan Whitaker.

Whitaker said the Xbox team designed the new controller with inclusivity in mind: “improved ergonomics for a wider range of people, better cross-device connectivity, easier sharing, and reduced latency.”

The new controller should fit more hand sizes — “especially smaller hands,” Whitaker said. Bumpers have been rounded, triggers reduced, and grips sculpted for better accessibility. The new D-pad, too, is designed with the intent to boost “performance and accessibility,” according to the designer.

“When looking at the wide range of game genres and personal playstyles today, the D-pad is used in a lot of different ways,” Whitaker said. “The slightly deeper dish 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.”

Likewise, the new controller will work with the Xbox One, too — but also with PC, Android, and iOS. It’ll “remember” devices to make switching between easier, Microsoft said. A USB-C port is available for charging and playing, and the gamepad will offer a built-in 3.5 mm headphone jack.

Microsoft also shared more information about the new controller’s share button — announced in December — which is placed right below the big ol’ Xbox button. It’ll be used to take screenshots and record video without opening up menus. “Then you can easily access and share content with your social platforms or directly with friends,” Whitaker said.

The Xbox Series X — and its controller — is slated for a holiday 2020 release date.

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