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Microsoft Reveals Xbox Controller S
Microsoft's David Hufford gives us the scoop on the brand new Xbox Controller S!
By - Benjamin "BenT" Turner

David Hufford
Last week's Japanese Xbox launch brought with it a redesigned controller made especially for the Asian market, which featured smaller dimensions, a more traditional button layout, and a flat-out better directional pad. That's not to knock the American Xbox Controller, though. It has a lot to like, including ergonomic curves that hug your hands, two expansion ports on top, comfortable dual thumbsticks and heavy-feeling triggers. However, some players have complained that it's just too large for smaller hands, and that the face buttons have an unintuitive layout. The new Japanese-style controller looked like one smart solution to these problems. Unfortunately, it is only available in Japan.

Luckily, Microsoft is listening to its consumers, and today have revealed that they are planning to address these issues by releasing a brand new Xbox controller for the American market. Microsoft's David Hufford came to GameSpy to get out the word on this exciting new peripheral.

GameSpy: Tell us a bit about yourself and your job at Microsoft Xbox.

David Hufford: My name is David Hufford and I work on the Marketing team at Xbox, so my primary job is to market all things Xbox, including this new game controller.

Xbox Controller S
GameSpy: What are you calling this new controller?

David Hufford: We're calling it Xbox Controller S.

GameSpy: What does the S stand for?

David Hufford: Well, there's not a lot of science behind it, it's more of an art thing. I think we were all in a room and thought it would be a cool name, so we just came up with it.

GameSpy: So will the original controller still be known as the Xbox Controller?

David Hufford: Yes, Xbox Controller is what we call it.

GameSpy: How is Xbox Controller S different from the standard US pad?

David Hufford: Well the first thing is obviously the size -- the Xbox Controller S is smaller. The one thing we did after launch was talk with people who bought the Xbox and it was pretty obvious that there were some people who wanted to have more choice with their game controller.

People were, I think, pleasantly surprised with the controller that we came out with, and they like it, but there's also a broader demographic of people that have got Xbox now and they're looking for something a bit smaller. Therefore we've reduced the size and changed the primary button placement quite a bit. We've gone to a cross layout similar to what you get on the PS2, and we've moved some of the secondary buttons so they're no longer on top. They've moved down to the bottom, underneath the cross layout. The D-pad's surface is a little bit different now. I think it'll be a lot easier for people to play, you know, eight hours of games per night. It'll be a little bit easier on the thumbs. And the Start and Back buttons have now moved below the left thumb-stick. So those are the primary differences. The triggers are also not quite as heavy as the Xbox Controller's springs, so the springs are a bit looser in the triggers.

GameSpy: Is it 100% identical to the Japanese controller?

...from the right!
David Hufford: No, there are differences. For one, the cable length is a bit longer than the Japanese controller; we're going to the 9.8 foot standard cable that we came out with for the original Xbox Controller. I mentioned the buttons -- the springs in the triggers, those are a bit different. It's more like the Xbox Controller here in the States, with a little subtle difference -- you'll definitely feel a little more play there. We replaced the green jewel with a black jewel, so you'll have a black jewel on this one.

GameSpy: Do you think the Xbox Controller S will be better suited to certain genres than the original Xbox Controller?

...and the left!
David Hufford: I think people will decide for themselves. Gamers will, you know, sort of pick it up and play. I love to play sports games and I've played it with the smaller controller and I prefer that controller. But a buddy of mine down the hall prefers the Xbox Controller. It's a "choose your weapon" kind of scenario.

GameSpy: Will the new controller have the same price point as the original?

David Hufford: Yeah, it'll be $39.95.

Next: In the stores...

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