Frankly, the Xbox Elite Controller is overkill. Here we are in 2015, and smartphone games have all but proven that you don’t need much more than your index finger and thumb to control even the most sophisticated games. Meanwhile, this thing has over a dozen gameplay interfaces, all of which can be individually fine-tuned. Stroll into a friendly Friday night Halo matchup with the Elite’s mesh black carrying case in hand, and you’re just a feathery mullet away from being the Power Glove kid in The Wizard.
This controller is clearly meant for pros (esport pros), but that’s a bit limiting. Really, anyone who spends a lot of time with a controller in hand, be they pro, intermediate or novice, can appreciate its customizability. Players can swap between concave and convex (and therefore thumb-fitting) analog thumb sticks according to what they like; elongated sticks are also available for players desiring the greatest sensitivity possible. Users who have trouble with the traditional D-pad can instead lay a disc-shaped accouterment over it for smoother play, which, like the thumb sticks, attaches magnetically (so you don’t have to worry about attachments getting worn out after continual swapping). And those clarinet-like back paddles are optional — but worth the learning curve, for the added personalization they offer.
What you get with the Xbox Elite controller is freedom to play games the way that you like. The ability to remap every single button allows players to fine-tune gameplay to their preferences, rather than having to adapt to default play settings that might not be optimal for them (though it is notable that soon you’ll be able to do the same on the Xbox One controller). Two control setups can be saved to the controller at any given time; alternate setups made by game developers are also available for players to adopt or use as guidelines. It’s all up to you — not unlike the fate of the virtual worlds players now so completely control.
Battery: 2 AA’s
Compatibility: Xbox One, PC (Windows 7 or later)
Weight: 12.3 Ounces