Xbox One – The Controller, Backwards Compatibility and Always Online

By On 21st May, 2013

The Controller

The new controller is clearly an evolution of design, rather than a revolution. While the likes of Sony and Nintendo pack their own devices with touch capabilities, NFC and the like, Microsoft have chosen to build on their relatively popular Xbox 360 pad.

There’s a refresh in the design, giving it the slightest of face-lifts but keeping that familiar look. The battery pack has been slimmed down considerably, as have the handles, meaning the pad will fit much more ergonomically in to the players hand.

The much despised disc-shaped d-pad has been thrown away, in favour of a much more default approach, and the left and right shoulder triggers have been given their own rumble functionality which should enable some nice touches when feeling recoil in a gun, or accelerating in a car.

Backwards Compatibility

It’s bad news for all those Xbox 360 game hoarders – in an interview with The Verge, Microsoft revealed that the One will not be compatible with either of it’s predecessors.

This is sure to create a bit of a backlash within a community that has poured millions of pounds in to Xbox software – but it’s worth bearing in mind we’ve seen reversals in this area before, and I’m betting it’s not the last of it we’ll hear.

Always Online

Of all the pre-announcement rumours, this is the one that struck up the most vitriol amongst the community. Microsoft quickly moved to comfort fans with the news that the Xbox One won’t require an always online connection to play. Some online games will require it, and possibly only briefly, but the overall decision will be down to the publisher themselves, rather than Microsoft.

“Gamers can calm down, we got you covered.” – Don Mattrick, Microsoft Xbox One Team

We’re betting there won’t be too many publishers initially who opt to use this functionality, for fear of a Diable 3/Sim City-esque wave of criticism.

What are your verdicts on the “always online” and backwards compatibility responses? Let us know in the comments below!

Gary Garside

Gary is an Editor at When he isn't reviewing games or discovering Console bargains, you can usually find him playing Racing or FPS games, occasionally dabbling in the odd RTS or MicroSim.