We test out the Xbox Design Lab and its range of customizable controller options, and while incredibly easy and even enjoyable, it is limited in its initial delivery.
As long as we’ve been gamers, we’ve wanted to leave our mark on the medium. As many have learned, that’s an almost insurmountable task at times, but small breakthroughs help to make the experience feel a little more catered to the desire of fans. The Xbox Design Lab is one such step forward, finally giving gamers a means of designing their very own official Xbox One controller. While it’s certainly not a new initiative in the world of gaming accessories, it’s a fun option for Xbox One users hoping to personalize their remotes – albeit somewhat lacking at this point in time.
The process for designing a standout peripheral starts off simple enough, with a grand total of 15 body colors available for selection. While that’s a satisfying number, this is the peak of what’s available. In particular, the D-Pad, face buttons, and joysticks all have substantially fewer color options, which understandably leaves some dreamt up designs out of reach. Despite these limitations, there’s an absurd number of possible combinations to choose from, but it’s important to keep in mind the category-focused sparsity of the program before becoming too attached to the thought of something along the lines of an all orange controller.
After the controller has been aesthetically mapped out, gamers have the chance to add an engraving to the remote – all in a bid to leave their stamp on the finished product, of course. After the back and forth associated with those trying to perfect their dream peripheral in the Xbox Design Lab (something that is bound to happen for those unsure of exactly how they plan on building it) such an option is certainly desirable, but it’s going to cost consumers an extra $9.99 USD in order to put anything from their name, Gamertag, or even Jaden Smith’s Twitter handle on it.
This drudges up another negative aspect that fans can take away from the experience, as it’s rather expensive to customize an official Xbox One controller. In total, gamers will be spending a minimum of $79.99 USD on the creation of the remote itself, and that price only grows with the aforementioned engraving. Admittedly, forking over a premium for this product is entirely expected, but the checkout price will be a hard pill to swallow for fans just looking for another controller. Fortunately, the final product is rather nifty addition to any Xbox user’s ever-growing controller collection.
After a two month waiting period, the controller finally arrived on my doorstep. Even the exclusive box in which the device arrived in made the tech feel like it was something different, and the product itself now appears to have been well worth the wait. Having utilized the remote, there are some distinguishing characteristics about it that make it standout from some of the more recent releases from Microsoft. Namely, the feel and grip of the device are quite different from some of the controllers currently available on the market. While a number of commercially available devices have a higher end, rubber-like grip on the back, this one simply sticks to the matte plastic that accompanies basic Xbox One remotes.
It’s not extravagant, but it’s exactly as advertised. Dubbed ‘The Sky Pumpkin’, the custom controller sits proudly on my table, forever adorned with my Gamertag, remaining as a personally-designed contribution to my longstanding gaming career. It may not be a significant mark on the medium, it may not have even gathered a like or share on the official Xbox Design Lab site, but it’s certainly a trophy of sorts that I had a hand in bringing to life. If you ask me, that’s pretty damn cool.
Game Rant was provided a code by Microsoft to build and receive a controller from the Xbox Design Lab for the purpose of this program overview.