Though many fascinating things to come of Xbox’s bold gambles during the previous generation, one of the most interesting was the creation of Xbox Design Lab. This allowed players to customize their very own Xbox controller in various ways, from changing its overall color to modifying the analog sticks and button colors as well. It was a compelling service with room to grow and evolve, something which Xbox seems to have realized.
Late last year, it was announced that Xbox Design Lab would be temporarily closed in order to prepare for players wanting to customize the brand new controller for Xbox Series X/S. While we await Design Lab’s return, here are a few things we would love to see introduced for the sake of making better controllers than ever.
Designs from Xbox Franchises
When a new Xbox exclusive makes its way to the public, there is often a special edition controller to celebrate that game’s release. The new controller tends to feature a design template associated with the game in question. Whether it be artwork honoring Halo 4 or the COG Army icon from Gears of War, these controller designs are made for die-hard fans of those franchises. As such, it feels fair to suggest that we should see more Xbox franchise art options in the customization menu.
For one thing, a greater degree of options can help mitigate issues regarding availability and appeal of design. It may be difficult for players to get their hands on the special edition controllers, to say nothing of how dissatisfied with certain aspects the player might be. Thus, being able to start a Xbox Design Lab creation and make a black controller with a red Gears icon would be preferable to seeking out a bright red controller featuring the franchise’s logo.
There’s also the prospect of Microsoft adding new iconography into the mix as they acquire more studios, such as Bethesda. Imagine customizing a Skyrim controller, or having a Fallout theme with Vault Boy on the handle giving the player a thumbs up. The franchise options here are plentiful, with the potential of growing over time as Microsoft continues to develop new IP and purchase studios that have their own established franchises.
The player created controller in Xbox Design Lab could take advantage of the multiple design options featuring iconic franchises, or stick to a simple controller featuring different colored analog sticks and face buttons What the Xbox community craves the most is the ability to choose what they would like their custom controller to look like.
Ability to customize Elite Controller
As of last year, the Xbox Design Lab only allowed people to customize the standard Xbox controller. This means that no one has been able to offer their distinct take on the Xbox Elite Controller, an oversight that could stand to be corrected.
One of the bigger issues with this possibility is the price. The basic Xbox controller retails for about $59.99, with Design Lab variants starting at $79.99. Taking that price jump into account, the Elite Controller’s typical cost of $179.99 would rise beyond $200. That having been said, we doubt the cost will be an issue for the people already interested in Elite Controllers. Especially if the fans take advantage of the multiple customization features to make their Elite Controller stand out from the rest.
After all, the Elite Controllers have been praised for the quality of their design, and the sturdiness of the controller compared to the standard one that comes with the console.. Many have specifically praised the addition of the paddle buttons on the controller’s back and the ability to set up multiple profiles for button mapping. For the community of gamers that can afford the Elite’s hefty price tag, any customization options would go over well.
At present, the Xbox Elite Controller is only available in Black and White, with the White variant being the rarer of the two. Thus, even adding the option to customize just the Elite’s base color would be a step forward, though we wouldn’t say no to more in-depth personalization.
Although the Xbox Series X/S has only been out for a few months, we have not seen any special edition variants beyond the various mockups conceived by fans. Those fan-produced concepts have nevertheless made many people yearn for more unique options when it comes to shopping for a Series X/S.
Though we doubt Microsoft would sign off on such an idea, one possible way to meet this demand would be to let folks create their own custom Series X/S designs to go along with their new controllers. This could include allowing people to have their console match their controller’s color scheme, letting them come up with a distinct look to their Series X/S, and even offering the option to engrave someone’s name or gamertag into it. Whatever a person’s preference may be, catering to it would ensure they grow attached to their specific Xbox console and by extension the Xbox brand.
Of course, the console design would need a large price tag, given that folks would be receiving a full-fledged console on top of everything else. However, that’s a small price to pay if it means people awaiting a potential Halo Infinite special edition console get to enjoy the full Xbox experience sooner.
Given that the actual console customization might be difficult to produce due to consoles being limited in supply, one backup option might be to sell skins for consoles that can match a controller’s custom design or make the console itself more colorful. While stickers could suffice, it would be better to offer sleeves to slide onto the Xbox console without fear of attaching them wrong or creating air bubbles under their surface. Regardless of the specific medium, this option would allow the players to have their controller and console bear the same color scheme without paying over $500 for a custom Series X/S through Xbox Design Lab.