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New ‘Aqua Shift’ Xbox controller does more than just change the color

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Improved grip, trigger surfaces help you hang on through heavy action

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product shot of the Aqua Shift Xbox Wireless Controller Image: Microsoft

A new Xbox Wireless Controller is now available for pre-order, and it will ship on Aug. 31. The Aqua Shift Special Edition features a pearlescent blue color scheme, as well as an improved grip texture that wraps the controller’s triggers, bumper buttons, and back casing.

The launch model controller for the Xbox Series X has corrugated surfaces on the same parts, but they are part of the plastic casing. Microsoft’s announcement on Tuesday emphasized that the Aqua Shift’s grips are an additional, rubberized component, the first time a standard Xbox Wireless Controller has gotten this treatment.

“Aqua Shift is the first Special Edition Xbox Series X|S controller to feature rubberized side grips with a unique dual color swirl on every unit,” the statement said. “Textured grip on the triggers, bumpers, and back case makes sure you stay connected to the game no matter how intense things get.”

The controller is $69.99, $10 more than the MSRP for a standard Xbox Wireless Controller. It’s compatible with the Xbox One, as well as Windows PC, Android, and iOS devices, all of which can now stream games from the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate library.