I’ve just experienced the next generation of controllers: The Playstation 5 DualSense controller.
Having bought a Playstation 5 I was blown away by the new DualSense controller. The haptics and the adaptive triggers are, I know this term is overused, truly game-changing.
To be able to feel the pitter-patter of individual raindrops soaking your shoulders or the scrap of tires across loose gravel is transformative on Sony’s next-gen controller.
So that got me thinking: Does the Xbox Series X’s controller have haptics feedback?
No, the Xbox Series X controller does not have haptic feedback. The Xbox Series X has traditional rumble motors in the handle parts of the controller and the triggers. These rumble motors though more sophisticated than traditional rumble motors, do not offer anywhere near the same resolution of rumble effects as haptics.
Ok, now you know the Xbox Series X controller doesn’t have haptic feedback. But there’s so much more to explore! So in the next sections, I’ll take a look at:
- What is haptic feedback and why it’s important
- Why the Xbox Series X controller dosn’t have haptic feedback
- What are the chances of haptic feedback being in future Xbox controllers
- Finnaly, I’ll see if there’s anway to experance haptic feedback on your Xbox Series X right now
Ok, let’s get started…
What is haptic feedback?
Haptic feedback is the equivalent of next-generation rumble effects on game controllers. Haptic linear motors can generate a vastly higher number of subtle tactile effects that are way beyond the high/low-frequency rumbles of traditional rumble-enabled controllers.
I could spend thousands of words explaining haptic technology in words, but haptic feedback is one of those things best shown by a video. So take a quick look a the video below by Taptic Digital for an explanation of haptic feedback. keep in mind this is for a phone. But a controller essentially works exactly the same way, except the piece of metal that is moved in a controller is much bigger.
Why doesn’t the Xbox Series X / S controller have haptic feedback?
I would say that there are a few reasons why the Xbox Series X controller doesn’t have haptic feedback. I’ve listed a few of them below.
The Xbox Controller is well established a loved by Xbox fans
The first point and one of the strongest reasons why Microsoft didn’t add haptics to the Xbox Series X is because the Xbox Series X / Xbox One controller is already seen as the best controller in the world for usability and ergonomics.
I think that adding haptics to the Xbox Controller may have changed the design of the controller a little more than what Microsoft was comfortable with.
Perhaps it would have changed the shape or weight of the controller too much. Just look at how much the PS5’s DualSense controller has changed compared to the PS4’s Dualshock controller, and you’ll see what I mean.
Adding in haptic motors would have cost Microsfot too much
The Xbox Series X controller currently retails for an RRP of $59.99. That’s $10 less than the PS5 DualSense controller $69.99 RRP.
The PS5 DualSense controller costs more because of the extra technology housed in its white case.
For Microsoft to include the extra haptic technology they would have been forced to increase the price of the controllers.
Think about it, if the haptic motors cost $5 more than than the traditional rumble controllers they were replacing, and Microsoft ends up selling 200 million controllers over the next 5 years, it would cost Microsoft 1 Billion dollars to include haptic technology in their controllers. So you can probably understand why they didn’t include it.
Micrsoft could always add haptics later.
Microsoft is a huge and smart company. They know that, sometimes, it’s better to enter a market after a competitor. That way, they can let the competitor validate the market and make all the mistakes first. then they can swoop in on the market as a late arrival brandishing a vastly improved product. T
I suspect Microsoft is doing this with controller haptic feedback.
They are watching what Sony does with the DualSense controller. They are measuring customer feedback and watching how developers use haptics.
Then, once they have been able to study the technology and the market’s acceptance of it, Microsoft will consider incorporating the tech into future Xbox Controllers.
We’ll take an in-depth look at the chance of Xbox controllers getting haptics in the next section….
Will the Xbox Series X controller get haptic feedback in the future?
There is a really good chance Microsoft could produce a second-generation Xbox Series X controller that makes use of haptic technology.
In January 2021 Microsoft circulated a questionnaire asking Xbox users if they’d like to see similar features of the PS5 controller added to the Xbox Series X controller
I would expect that, at the very least, we will see a mid-generation upgrade to the console, and Xbox Series Z, if you will. And I would expect an updated mid-generation controller to accompany this mid-gen Xbox. And this new controller will include haptic feedback similar to the Playstation 5’s DualSense haptic feedback.
In fact, I’d even go as far as saying that Microsoft would like to surpass the haptics featured in the PS5 controller as it would make for great marketing material
After all, Sony has gathered together a lot of positive press coverage because of how advanced the controller is compared to not only the old DualShock controller but the Xbox Series X controller.
So yes, I’d expect a change.
Is there any way to experience haptic feedback on the Xbox Series X in the meantime?
Sadly, there is no way to experience haptic feedback on the Xbox Series X or S.
Even if a controller, such as Sony’s DualSense controller was enabled to work on the Xbox Series X and S console, no games would make use of the intricate haptic motors.
Instead, the DualSense would just “mimic” the dated rumble motors found inside the Xbox Series X controller.
So currently, your only option to experience true haptic feedback on a game controller is to either use a set of Joy-cons with a Nintendo Switch, pick up a used steam controller (these things are amazing if you can find one on eBay), or rejoice in the awesomeness that is the DualSense controller by buying a PS5 (Can you tell I’m a fan?).
The Switch Joy-cons’s haptic feedback is, in my opinion, a little underwhelming. Conversely, the Steam controller offers a wonderful haptic feedback experience that can mimic everything from a click of a mouse button to the roll of the scroll wheel.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the PS5 controller doesn’t actually need a PS5 to make use of the Dualsense’s haptic feedback.
The DualSense can be hooked up to a PC where some games already support its advanced features. For example, Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition comes with complete DualSense controller support. That includes haptic feedback and Adaptive triggers support.
So if you fancy experiencing haptic feedback and have a gaming PC, why not pick up a Dualsense controller and enjoy next-generation haptics right now?
That’s what I would do. Go and pick up a DualSense controller now and enjoy the haptics on your PC. If it’s not for you, you can always sell the controller, and use the money to buy a game instead. It’s win-win!