Xbox Elite Controllers Need Better Durability

Microsoft's Elite controller series are fantastic to use and they will spoil you from using stock controllers. However, there is a price to pay once you acquire these bad boys, and we're not talking about its hefty cost. We're talking about its lack of longevity and the many headaches you'll encounter down the road.

Xbox Elite Controllers Need Better Durability

Ever since Microsoft introduced their Elite controllers back in 2015, hardcore gamers were excited to try out Microsoft’s first attempt at making premium controllers to compete against Scuf. It was very promising with the features it offered.

Controller players were getting four paddles, a carrying case, adjustable thumbsticks, mappable profiles, the ability to map any button from another and more quality of life features. This was unheard of at the time and it was only priced for $150. The price might seem steep for the casual or average gamer, but Scuf wasn’t offering anything similar to what the first Elite controller was doing at the time.

The World’s Most Advanced Controller?

The Elite Series 1 seemed to be the perfect controller for Xbox fans to use, but unfortunately, that was not the case. The controller was met with quality control issues. There were reports of people having issues like stick drift, broken bumpers, thumbstick sticking, peeling grips, and more since its inception.

Video credit: Crowbcat.

This has caused a tainted image for the Elite controller if one is researching various players’ experiences with them. When Microsoft started releasing their second installment, fans thought they would fix the issues from the first one.

That was also not the case. There were also reports of similar issues from the first one. This once again upset many Xbox fans and controller fanatics when the issues were starting to become widespread over internet posts.

The issues would lead to a point where Microsoft was getting sued for their Elite controllers back in October 2020.

With all this mentioned, it’s about time to get into the main focus of the topic: Elite controllers need to be more durable.

My Personal Experiences

As someone who was a user of the original Elite series, mine has definitely taken a beating from all the wear and tear. It certainly is still usable, but it is in an inconsistent state.

I am not an Elite controller owner since day one. I bought a used one during April-May 2021 because I was interested in trying a premium controller since I never tried one before.

The controller I bought was in the best condition at the time and the price was reasonable in the used market. When it arrived to me, it lived up to its description for the most part.

There were some shady things like the seller didn’t tell me the buttons were sticky and the down d-pad was broken. The buttons eventually became less sticky after heavy gaming sessions and the down d-pad was something I didn’t bother because I could map it to a paddle.

Games like Halo 5 really benefit from the Elite Controller.

Games like Halo 5 really benefit from the Elite Controller.

During the time I was using my Elite controller when it was still in great condition, I loved every moment of it. The paddles were very cool and I loved the customization of them.

It is certainly a nice feature for shooters because you don’t have to take your thumbs off the stick which gives you better control. For some games, I’ll use two or three, and I loved how easy it was to adjust them.

The adjustable thumbstick was also a fun feature. I personally love the mid-length dome stick for the left thumbstick. For the right thumbstick, I mostly prefer the standard Xbox thumbstick. Sometimes, I do use the long stick for the right if I’m playing a game that might require more long-range shooting involved which I believe the long stick helps because it has more leverage.

My own personal Elite controller for your viewing pleasure.

My own personal Elite controller for your viewing pleasure.

The Elite controller experience was fantastic. Until the problems started occurring and I went from being a fan to a critic.

You Want to Love It, But You Want to Hate It…

My left bumper is definitely broken after using it too many times. It isn’t because I was pressing too hard on them, but it just simply decided to snap one day when I was playing Doom Eternal.

I decided to not tape it because even though the bumper was snapped, it was still functioning fairly smoothly, but the problem simply got worse. Eventually, the registration was starting to deteriorate; I had to press it harder to make it register.

The Gears of War 4 Edition is very sought after among collectors.

The Gears of War 4 Edition is very sought after among collectors.

Another thing is it started to have double registration at times which basically made my left bumper unusable for Doom Eternal. Not only that, sometimes I also get failed registration. For any games that require me to use the left bumper heavily, I have to map it to a paddle.

I also started to develop stick drift the more I play with the controller. The problem is very inconsistent. Sometimes, my controller will start to drift crazily and it makes shooters unplayable to play, but sometimes the drift just goes away randomly.

I found a weird technique by just blowing into the right thumbstick, and it seems like it makes the drift significantly reduce its appearance. However, it is not a perfect solution to the issue.

I also bumped into the infamous peeling grips. There have been many reports of people saying the Elite 1’s grips are poorly made. My left hand tends to sweat intensely after long gaming sessions and it is no longer intact on the left side.

The right side of the grip still feels very firm, but that’s because my right hand barely sweats at all. A recent issue that’s starting to bug me is the registration of the left d-pad. It’s getting noticeably worse.

Video credit: My Mate VINCE.

When I first got the controller, I remembered it had extremely smooth registration. I could touch with little force, it would register easily. That’s not the case anymore; I have to press it firmly.

I no longer can use the disc-like d-pad module to play games that require me to press the left d-pad often. It’s just too difficult to make it register when you’re pressing it hard. The standard d-pad is generally the optimal set up.

As you can see, my Elite controller is still usable in some ways. Despite being usable, it’s very disappointing to see a controller that’s priced higher than a stock controller having so many issues.

I still have my stock Xbox One controller back in 2015, and it’s still working. It doesn’t look too great because it’s been through heavy wear and tear, but its functionality is better than my Elite 1.

The PowerA Fusion Pro 2 could be a good alternative to the Elite Controller.

The PowerA Fusion Pro 2 could be a good alternative to the Elite Controller.

Did The Elite Series 2 Core Solve the Issues?

Microsoft recently released their Elite Series 2 core controllers. One thing that’s noticeable about this latest installment in the Series 2 family is it just offers the controller by itself.

That’s a dead giveaway on how Microsoft is aware of how bad the quality control is for their Elite series. The Elite 2 core is basically designed to replace the defected Series 2 units.

Microsoft promised the Core variants would be better in build quality. Unfortunately, there have already been reports of people noticing issues with the latest Elite Series 2 installment.

This is what the Elite 2 Core looks like.

This is what the Elite 2 Core looks like.

YouTuber 9to5Toys mentioned at 4:45 in his Elite Series 2 core review video that he has problems with A and Y button not registering properly.

All of this quality control issue is simply unacceptable. I love the Elite controller experience. I think Microsoft nailed down what it means to have a premium controller experience.

But the durability is the thing that’s very important for these products. I cannot believe that the Elite controllers have not been getting any sort of improvement when it comes to longevity.

Some Last Words…

Microsoft has yet to announce an Elite Series 3 down the line, but I believe everyone is aware that the next Elite controller era will happen soon. The Elite Series 3 cannot repeat the same issues like the first two versions.

The controller needs to be more durable, and gamers should not bump into controller woes months down the line. These gamepads are expensive and deserve better build quality. We are all still waiting for the perfect Xbox Elite controller experience from Microsoft.

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