Now We Know Why The Original Xbox Controller Was Such A Beast

OG Xbox Controller
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Anyone remember the OG Xbox controller that came with the system when it first launched? I'm not talking about the far superior Xbox S-Type Controller, but the original hulking beast with that humongous shell. Well, we finally know why it was such huge controller.

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Jonathan "Seamus" Blackley, one of the co-creators of the original Xbox, posted up the comment over on Twitter. Gamespot managed to compile a list of Blackley's succeeding comments where he further explained exactly what the inspiration was for the OG Xbox controller beyond that massive shell, detailing in a number of tweets that there was actually a lot of influence from Sega's bulky Dreamcast controller...

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According to Blackley, he had wanted to shrink the design of the controller, nicknamed "The Duke", but he didn't have the clout at the time to work that change through Microsoft's bureaucracy.

He explained that some of the decisions were let through because being in a role of leadership meant giving up something in one area in order to get what you wanted in another.

One of the interesting things mentioned in the Gamespot piece is that Blackley states that the focus group testing on the controller and the way it felt to the average gamer was ignored by Microsoft. Shocker, I know.

The controller was an absolute pain to use due to the fact that the layout of the buttons was all wrong as far as spacing was concerned. The start and select buttons were at the bottom, and the face buttons were almost directly over the right analog stick. It was also difficult to reach the d-pad on the OG Xbox controller because it was positioned underneath the left analog stick. The right stick also had a protuberant thumb pad instead of the more popular concaved indentation. Believe it or not, that old thumb pad made slippage really easy and I used to hate using that controller for that reason.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft reeled in their hubris and pulled it back tight after they redesigned the controller into the now famously loved Xbox S-Type. The S Controller featured the face button layout and design that eventually carried over into the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controller layout, it also featured the analog and digital pad spacing that both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One also utilize. The two major changes were that the white and black buttons down by the side of the right analog ended up becoming the left and right bumpers and the start and select ended up being placed on the opposite sides of the Xbox logo in the center of the controller.

While the button layout is definitely better on the Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers, to this very day I still enjoy the weighty grip of the Xbox S-Type. It was a real gamer's controller; sadly, I can't say the same for "The Duke". Nevertheless, I'm glad Blackley and the rest of the folks at Microsoft eventually listened to reason and made the change.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.