It’s one of those strange truths of gaming that an ergonomically designed pad is far more daunting to non-fans than a conventional remote control brimming with inputs. From a layman’s point of view it’s easy to see why – after all, a play button never changes, while an X, which closes down PC folders, can perform just the opposite function on a PS4, and something else entirely on Xbox One.
With the current and next-generation of game consoles now considered — and marketed – as multimedia devices, it’s hardly surprising to find the major platform holders churning out traditional, TV-like inputs with which to interact.
Having launched back in November without so much as a mention of any media remotes, the Xbox One now appears on the verge of receiving an official licensed controller. Spotted by the folks over at Engadget, the ‘Xbox One Media Remote’ pictured above, briefly appeared on Amazon’s Canadian listings – perched alongside a product photo, $25 price tag and March 4, 2014 release date.
Despite being swiftly removed from circulation, the error was later repeated by two more Amazon stores, with the additional slip-ups disclosing the controller’s British pricing of £20. Assuming these listings, and images are correct, many fans are likely to be disappointed by the remote’s bare-bones design. With 19 visible inputs, the controller is only one button better off than the Xbox One pad, while most similar products often include a swathe of playback-only features.
The remote’s existence also raises questions over Microsoft’s continued belief in the Kinect format. Pre-release PR had painted the Minority Report-style system as an effective answer to traditional controller-led difficulties, with normal pads acting as a backup — as well as a first choice option for many gamers. With this being the case, it becomes difficult to understand just who the new product is being aimed at.
Despite these perceived shortcomings, the controller has a long way to go before plummeting to the same depths as the original Xbox remote — a tacky, feature-less design forced upon players who wanted to make use the console’s locked-out playback options. Its followup, the Xbox 360 removed any such restrictions, offering instead two varieties of controller – a more fully-fledged pad and a smaller paired-down cousin. It’s likely the latter option sold in greater numbers, given Microsoft’s return to a smaller key set this time around.
Is Microsoft trying to attract a less tech-savvy, TV-watching audience? Is $25 a fair price to pay for an additional, unncessary controller? Conventional remotes or Kinect-led control, which do you prefer when navigating the Xbox One? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest gaming news, right here on Game Rant.
The Xbox One is now available.
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