It’s been a busy time in the world of pro controllers, and yet an Xbox Elite Series 3 is yet to surface through the sea of gamepads being released by the competition, such as the DualSense Edge. That’s because an entirely new console generation has come about since Microsoft launched its latest hat into the competitive ring.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since the release of the Xbox Elite Series 2 – which dropped at the tail end of the Xbox One’s lifespan in 2019. Now, four years later, the time is right for Microsoft to release a new pro model which stands above some of the best Xbox controllers. Given that the DualSense Edge was only released back in February, this would be an excellent time for Microsoft to strike.
In the three years that have passed the Xbox Series X and the PS5, the latter current-generation console has been the winner when it comes to pro controllers. That’s because many third-party options have been developed for Sony’s latest machine, ranging from third-party companies alongside the in-house DualSense Edge which further builds upon the foundations of the stock controller.
By comparison, the Xbox Wireless Controller stands unopposed as officially licensed gamepads for the system often go cheaper. Sony’s predicament is quite the opposite since the PS5 is in a position where its users should have access to cheaper controllers and not more “pro” ones.
Building a better controller
When we reviewed the Xbox Elite Series 2 way back when, the only thing we didn’t like about it was the clunky process of swapping the different sticks, D-pads, and paddles around, not to mention the price. Aside from that, it achieved a near-perfect score of 4.5 stars – higher than any other PS5 Pro controller to date and rivaled only by the standard DualSense. Everything else from the premium build quality, battery life, and trigger stops were leading at the time, and still more than respectable now.
Where the DualSense Edge lost favor with us was with its pricing, as even ahead of its February 2023 release date we thought it was overpriced. This led to our lukewarm reception of the product, where we praised the extra bells and whistles, but found the price point of $199.99 / £209.99 / AU$339.95 to be a bitter pill to swallow. Other PS5 pro controllers have made the same mistake, such as the Razer Wolverine V2 Pro which will set you back a frankly outlandish $249.99 / £249.99 / AU$475.95 sticker price.
In contrast, the Xbox Elite Series 2 sells for $179.99 / £159.99 / AU$249.95 which is over 20% cheaper in most regions than Sony’s official pro-PS5 controller. In order to stay competitive, the Xbox Elite Series 3 needs to undercut the DualSense Edge. If it ends up being the same price, or most expensive, while lacking the more advanced features of the DualSense, then it will struggle significantly.
To really be the definitive Xbox Series X controller, the Xbox Elite Series 3 needs to have the same excellent 40-hour battery life, or greater, than its predecessor. This would put it leagues ahead of what even the best PS5 controllers are capable of. The Elite Series 2 weighed in at 345g leading some to feel that it was too chunky. Potentially, the gamepad could take the route of the Nacon Revolution X and have a compartment in the chassis of the controller’s body allowing you to manually add and subtract weight in play. Seeing as Microsoft’s official pad came with a slick carrying case, this addition wouldn’t be too hard to factor into the finished product.
A potential Xbox Elite Series 3 controller could really excel with the use of microswitches in the face buttons. This low-actuation implementation would mean far less travel time than the standard membrane of the stock Microsoft pad. As your thumb wouldn’t have to move so far, you could shave milliseconds off a crucial combo in some of the best fighting games or reloading in a pivotal moment in one of the best FPS games. This would help the controller greatly stand out from all existing remotes on the platform all while giving you that satisfying competitive advantage.
If Microsoft can ensure a long battery life and more quality-of-life improvements while keeping costs down, then the next generation of Elite Series controllers could be incredible on the platform.