Today on YouTube, Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb unveiled a new Xbox 360 controller, due out later this year. It isn’t exactly a radical change, but there are a few tweaks that should be for the better.
The biggest change will be to the often neglected D-pad. The D-pad has long been the red headed step child of the controller accessories. More or less shuffled to the second tier of controller functions, the once proud D-pad — which was always there, lovingly awaiting our thumb back in the old days of controllers — has since been relegated to the occasional secondary weapon toggle, weapons selection wheel if it is lucky, or even the lowly power switch for a flashlight.
The new changes to the Xbox360 controller hope to bring a little pride back into the D-pad, while making it more usable. With a twist, the D-pad will now rise up about a quarter of an inch. It might not seem like a mind blowing alteration- and, well, it isn’t- but fans of fighting games should appreciate the change, plus the pad might now factor more heavily into designers’ control schemes. Plus, who knows, this might be a renaissance for the D-pad, as more gamers switch back to it.
The new controller will also feature a deeper concave design on the analog sticks, and the color scheme on the buttons has been replaced with a monochrome look to match the silver and black colors. The controller will be packaged with the play-and-charge rechargeable battery kit only, and it will retail for $64.99. Expect it in stores on November 9 (coincidentally the same day as Call of Duty: Black Ops is released). Once it is released, expect all current Xbox 360 controllers to be replaced, once current stock is gone. It should be released in Europe in February, but no word on when to expect the new controllers as part of the Xbox 360 console bundle.