One of the pleasant surprises of this generation has been the way that Microsoft has tried to position itself as the hardware manufacturer who most looks after its fans. The backwards compatibility program exists purely because gamers were asking for it and Phil Spencer heard that. Another positive has been Xbox Design Labs which allows gamers to get officially licensed customised controllers. Microsoft is pretty strict about allowing other manufacturers access to their wireless protocols. This means that though they may offer something different visually (and maybe even practically) nearly all third-party controllers are wired. Xbox Design Labs gives gamers the ability to change the visuals of their controller and possibly create something unique. As good as this program is, and we are big fans of it here at Enthusiast Towers, we think it could go further, so here are four ways that we think that Xbox Design Labs could be even better.
Customise all controllers
This is a pretty obvious one, but we would love to be able to customise all controllers, not just the standard controller. Imagine being able to have your personalised elite controller in your favourite colours. It would be amazing. Why stop there though? How about adding the new adaptive controller to the mix as well? As great as that new controller looks in white imagine being able to customise it and make your own look unique. Adding all types of controllers to the Xbox Design Lab options would surely bring in new customers to the service and help keep all gamers happy.
Not just controllers
Let’s not just stop at controllers though. Wouldn’t it be great to choose the colour and appearance of your console as well as what game comes in your bundle? Imagine being able to customise an Xbox One X and create something unique that only you will have. Personally, I’d love a translucent cover on mine so that you could see the inside of the console. They don’t even have to stop at consoles either. I imagine some people would pay a premium to have customisable headsets, play & charge kits, or a vertical stand. There are probably even some people who would like a customised Kinect (though not many).
Offering a wide range of colours is great but how about offering some assets from Microsoft’s best-loved games? You could add the Halo logo or Master Chief’s helmet to the design. Maybe pop a lancer or two from Gears of War somewhere on the controller. I understand that the options would have to be quite limited here, but there is so much that they could offer. As this would be a trickier thing to introduce, it could be done as a limited period option. If you want a new controller with Gears 5 branding on it, then you have to order it in the month before or after the release of the new game. It might be challenging to sort out but not impossible and would be a big hit with fans.
Plastic is so 90’s! How about offering different materials for the controllers. This already happens to some extent with rubber sections being an option. How great would it be, though, to put metal thumbsticks on the controller (like on the Elite controller)? Or if they really want to go to town on it, offering up a carbon fibre body for the controller. Anything that helps to make your controller unique. There are lots of different materials and finishes that they could offer to take the customisation to the next level.
Well, those are the ways that we would like to see Xbox Design Labs offer more options. What would you like to see them add/do? Please feel free to sound off in the comments section below.
Founding Xbox Enthusiast member and serious guitar player. Basically, Steve rocks. Need we say more?