Seemingly following Apple’s business model of the “evolving” product, Microsoft’s impressive reveal of the Elite 2 controller during their E3 press conference surprised many, and generated some industry interest. If you are wondering whether this controller is for you, it’s probably not. Unless you have $180 burning a hole in your pocket, or have aspirations to be a professional gamer and need intense levels of customizable button maps and sensitivities, put that money towards something better — like maybe an entire year of Game Pass Ultimate.
To be fair, the Xbox Elite 2 is without a doubt the Rolls Royce of controllers. The second it hits your hand, the ergonomic weight distribution and luxury texture will absolutely blow you away; it really feels like a premium product instead of your average, run-of-the-mill stock controller. When my co-writer Ryan and I both touched the controller for the first time, we absolutely gave each other that look of ‘whoa.’ Microsoft spared no expense in the rubberized grip and overall aesthetic of the Elite 2 — although that’s not even the main draw for most gamers.
For most, the big selling points are the added button mapping, sensitivity adjustments, and customization options that the Xbox Elite 2 has to offer. Retaining the paddles and other advancements of the previous model, this device really is the future of gaming — to an extent. Complete with adjustable tension joysticks and hair triggers that can be changed on the fly, it’s pretty hard to imagine any further improvements to be made. With a 40-hour rechargeable battery and Bluetooth capabilities for the Elite 2 to work as a universal controller for Windows 10, it truly is a one-stop-shop for those that pick up Game Pass Ultimate.
I walked into my hands-on time with the Elite 2 controller with the intention of absolutely picking one up, but I left with a solid conviction that the powerful device was ultimately not for me. In the Microsoft Theater, the demo game for the Elite 2 was an odd Fortnite-like tech demo that ran you through the features of the controller and gave you a better idea of its powerful customization options. After tweaking the sensitivities, playing with the saved buttons schemes, all I was left with was a slightly disappointed feeling instead of the revolutionary gaming experience that the trailer seemed to suggest.
Sure, there are some awesome applications for the Elite 2 in high-intensity battle royal games, as well as in titles that require intense speed and precision, but it really doesn’t make much of a difference in most other game types. For almost half the price of a modern-generation console, this controller won’t make you a better player, or radically change the way you experience games — it just makes you a little faster, and streamlines your button mapping as you change titles quickly.
Besides being a time-saver and giving you a few milliseconds (possibly) of advantage over another player in a firefight, the Microsoft Elite 2 feels like a fairly niche device that certainly leads the pro controller market, but just not enough to warrant the price. Without cosmetic customization options and a more reasonable price tag, it’s hard to imagine this working for the average player. If you have the cash or need the pro gaming experience on your console, the Elite 2 is certainly a fun, premium device, but there may be better uses for the money on an Xbox console.
What do you think? Are you buying a Microsoft Xbox Elite 2 controller? Let us know in the comments below!