Microsoft may be planning another surprise to go along with its Xbox Live price hike. A report from Gamestop’s annual managers meeting says a new Xbox controller is developed. This controller doesn’t appear to be a drastic overhaul to what we’re used to. The redesign focuses mainly on the controller’s d-pad.
The d-pad will raise a quarter of an inch when it is moved at a 90 degree angle. It’s not something that will have gamers lining up around the corner, but it could have some practical uses.
The Xbox 360 controller has the best analog sticks in the business. On the flip side, it also has the worst d-pad around. Besides being in an awkward position that makes using it exclusively a drag, the d-pad just feels weird. This new design will make the d-pad more predictable when inputting precise movements. I can only imagine fighting games such as Street Fighter IV really benefiting from this. The new controller is rumored to be available before the end of 2010.
This change was first mentioned at the 2008 Leipzig Games Convention. It has been a long time coming, but there must be something about a d-pad redesign that takes two years to be mass produced.