Xbox Series X controller revealed: share button, cross-compatibility, and more

(Image credit: Xbox)

The Xbox Series X controller has been officially revealed, with confirmation it will have a share button, as well as work with older Xbox models.  

The details came through Xbox Wire, who interviewed Xbox senior designer, Ryan Whitaker. 

When the Xbox Series X was first revealed, we did get a glimpse of a controller that looks almost exactly the same as the current Xbox One controller. Will Tuttle, editor-in-chief on Xbox Wire, explains that the fans love for the current controller resulted in the team wanting "to ensure they didn't change things for the sake of change," and to instead build on the Xbox One controller in "smart evolutionary ways" that would still allow players to retain the muscle memory they've built up over the years through using the current-gen controller. 

"The Xbox design team developed a next-generation controller to deliver what fans wanted most: improved ergonomics for a wider range of people, better cross-device connectivity, easier sharing, and reduced latency," Tuttle states. 


Cross-compatibility is a big factor in Xbox's shift to next-gen, and Whitaker states that there will be support for cross-compatibility between Xbox Series X and Xbox One controllers and consoles:

"They all work together with the same great Xbox Wireless Radio. Gamers can also play on more devices including PC, Android, and iOS. We’re implementing Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) so that pairing to these devices is much easier. The new controller also remembers multiple devices so switching between them is more seamless. And a USB-C port allows gamers to play and charge with a modern cable that’s more readily available." 

Compatibility and connectivity were key areas when it came to the design of the new controller. "The new controller needs to work equally well on Xbox One and pairing and moving between all these devices needs to be easy," Whitaker says. The controller is described as a "common touchpoint for your Xbox games across all devices" and it's specifically designed with interconnectivity in mind.  

Easier sharing

One of the controller's most noticeable changes is the inclusion of a new Share button. Whitaker shed some light on why Xbox decided to add the button to the Xbox Series X controller, saying "adding a Share button is the best way to make capturing and sharing instantaneous. It's easy just to grab a screenshot or record a video without needing on-screen menus. Then you can easily access and share content with your favourite social platforms or directly with friends."  

 D-Pad design changes give a "performance boost"  

The D-pad has had some design changes on the new Xbox Series X controller that utilizes everything the team learned from the interchangeable pads on the Elite controllers. Whitaker explains the new D-Pad is about boosting performance and accessibility to suit different playstyles. "The slightly deeper dish gives your thumb a nice little "home" to sit in, Whitaker says, "The angles are finely tuned to give you a good amount of leverage with minimal movement. Gamers will notice a performance boost right out of the box."  

Size and textures 

The feel of a controller when you're holding it can really be, pardon the phrase, a game-changer. Xbox has added new textures and finishes to the next-gen controllers with a "tactile dot pattern on the triggers and bumpers, which provides grip to improve feel and performance during gameplay." The textures have been used on Special edition controllers in the past, and it's now become the "new standard" for controllers going forward. 

"The D-pad, bumpers, and triggers now have a matte finish to maintain a smooth consistent feel, whether your hands are wet or dry."

The size was taken into consideration too. One of the key areas Xbox explored was improving is ensuring the controller fits a wider range of hand sizes. "By accommodating hands similar to those of an average 8-year-old, we found we could improve accessibility and comfort for hundreds of millions more people without negatively affecting the experience of those with larger hands," Whitaker explains. This was achieved by rounding the bumpers and reducing the rounding parts around triggers, as well as sculpting the grips to accommodate different hand sizes.

In other news, Xbox Series X size specs reveal how much space you'll need under your TV. 

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.