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When you hold the Xbox One controller, you’re holding $100 million of R&D

Published Nov 20th, 2013 11:05AM EST
Microsoft Xbox One Controller

When it comes to the Xbox One, Microsoft has spared no expense. VentureBeat reports that Microsoft has plunged $100 million into research and development for the Xbox One’s new controller alone, an enormous sum of money spent to design a controller that looks a lot like the previous generation’s Xbox 360 controller. So what did Microsoft spend all that cash on?

According to VentureBeat, Microsoft actually researched ways to have to Xbox One controller emit game-related smells to help gamers feel further immersed in whatever they’re playing.

“We built small slugs of different types of smells that could actually come out of a controller,” Zulfi Alam, Xbox’s general manager for accessories, told VentureBeat. “Like, as you walked through a jungle, you’d smell the flora.”

The company also looked into adding a touch pad to its controller, much as Sony has done with its PlayStation 4 controller, and also tested out controllers with cameras, speaker systems and even “a tiny projector which would beam out ambient visuals around the player.”

In the end, though, the company decided to scrap a lot of these ideas to make sure that the Xbox One’s controllers have strong battery life that will help them double as television remote controls. So instead of building a smell-emitting controller, Microsoft settled for refining the 360’s controller design to give it a better guide button, triggers and analog sticks. And even if such innovations and refinements aren’t worth $100 million, we can thank Microsoft for taking the time to definitively show that smelling the city of Los Santos in Grand Theft Auto V would not be a rewarding experience.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.