The Xbox Series X is getting a refined controller for its holiday 2020 planned launch window. Here’s everything we know about it so far.

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X continues to dominate the airwaves, with the firm recently revealing its beastly 12TF spec sheet to complement our earlier leaks. One thing we did not know about, though, was the revised controller.

Microsoft is building a brand new iteration on its current-gen Xbox controllers, evolving its existing ergonomics and features while also adding in some new ones.

While the controller itself has yet to be fully, officially detailed, here’s everything we know about it so far.

Refined hardware features

First and foremost, Microsoft has revised some aspects of its design, making it slightly smaller to accommodate a broader range of players, while also changing up its d-pad.

The new d-pad takes some cues from Microsoft’s popular Xbox Elite Controller range, with a cross-segmented style format, which should be a boost for directional movement, as well as menu selections and so on. Microsoft is also putting textured grips on the triggers for the new controller, likely giving those trigger pulls a more tactile feel.

Perhaps the most significant update pertains to the share button. Microsoft is joining Sony and Nintendo by adding a share button directly on the controller, in between the view and menu buttons in the center. Xbox lead Phil Spencer commented on the inclusion in a recent interview.

“We’re not the first ones to do a share button, so we’re not going to say that we invented that, but we’ve heard feedback that sharing is such a part of a gaming experience now for many of our players. I wanted a dedicated button to share, so you’ll see that.”

This new button will allow you to more easily share clips and screenshots across social networks without having to jump through Xbox guide menu functions. The functionality is already included on the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2, but you have to configure it to one of the paddles via the accessories app.

Dynamic Latency Input

Confirmed on the Xbox Series X website, Microsoft is building Dynamic Latency Input into the next-gen pipeline, giving developers an extra tool for making games more responsive.

Dynamic Latency Input (DLI): We’re optimizing latency in the player-to-console pipeline, starting with our Xbox Wireless Controller, which leverages our high bandwidth, proprietary wireless communication protocol when connected to the console. With Dynamic Latency Input (DLI), a new feature which synchronizes input immediately with what is displayed, controls are even more precise and responsive.

This allows developers to more accurately synchronize what happens in your hands with what’s happening on-screen, using Microsoft’s existing 2.4GHz wireless signal that currently connects your controllers to your console and compatible PCs and dongles.

Reverse compatibility

Speaking of previous consoles and Windows PCs, the Xbox Series X controller will also be compatible with past-gen hardware, thanks to updates heading to Microsoft platforms. This means you will be able to take advantage of the new features and updated ergonomics on previous hardware if you’re a PC gamer or an Xbox gamer not ready to upgrade your console. Additionally, all existing Xbox One controllers will work on the Xbox Series X as well.

How the share button will work on PCs remains a bit of a mystery, but it’s likely that it will tie into the new Windows 10 Xbox Game Bar, which has many of the same features.

AA batteries return

Microsoft recently revealed that the Xbox Series X controller will retain the AA batteries found in the regular controllers. In an interview, Microsoft said this was because Xbox gamers are fairly evenly split about whether they want the option for rechargeables or not. Indeed, AA Eneloop batteries are generally the best rechargeable battery solution for controllers we’ve found so far, outside of the crazy-expensive Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller, with its similarly crazy 40-hour battery life.

The Xbox Wireless Controller uses AA batteries in order to offer choice to players. As with all our work at Xbox, we place the player at the centre of the gaming experience, and so we decided to maintain AA batteries for choice. This way, gamers can choose whether they use disposable AA batteries, rechargeable AA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack.

The controller will also use a USB-C to USB-A cable for charging its optional charge kit battery pack, likely to be sold separately. The Xbox Series X itself still only uses USB-A ports.

Unanswered questions: Price, availability, custom versions

There are a few unanswered questions, of course, about the new Xbox Series X controller, which we’ll answer as soon as we get more information.

  • How much will it cost to purchase separately?
  • When will it go on sale?
  • Will it have custom versions at launch?

We’ll hit those up as soon as we can. Until then, hang tight!

While you wait

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Possibly the best controller, ever.

If you can weather the price point, it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed with this controller, and it works on the Xbox Series X too!

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