Xbox boss Phil Spencer is impressed by the PS5 controller, arguably the biggest change in design for Sony controllers since the original.
Spencer discussed his thoughts on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S launch in a wide-ranging interview with The Verge. That included giving credit to Sony for pushing the games industry forward in its own way with the DualSense's new design.
"I applaud what they did with the controller, not actually for - well, I shouldn’t say not for the specifics of the controller, but more than just the specifics of the controller," Spencer said. "I think for all of us in the industry, we should learn from each other and the innovation that we all push on, whether it’s distribution of business model like Game Pass, or controller tech, or the Wii back in the day, which clearly had an impact on us when we went off and did Kinect and Sony did the Move."
The Verge asked if Microsoft would be able to change its controller design from one generation to another as substantially as Sony, or if running its games on so many platforms and devices (including phones now, via cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate) precludes that possibility. Spencer said Microsoft could integrate more haptic feedback into its network setup on mobile - assuming you have a controller synced, of course - but the ubiquity of the Xbox controller has become its own consideration.
"The Xbox controller has kind of become a default, even outside of gaming scenarios, which is always bizarre to me. I’ll see somebody controlling a robot and they’re using an Xbox controller somewhere in an enterprise scenario," Spencer said.
"It doesn’t keep us from innovating. Clearly, we do have to think about all of the use cases that are out there. We can’t turn the controller inside out because there’s so much expectation about the way it should work now. We can innovate on top of that, and we’re going to look at what any other company does and learn from it, and see if it’s something that we want to apply to what we’re doing."
The last few weeks have been a lot, even just for video games - read our breakdown of why the PS5 and Xbox Series X launch has been more complicated than any other console release.