Welcome To The Era Of The $200 Gaming Controller

Welcome To The Era Of The $200 Gaming Controller

A screenshot of a DualSense Edge shows how the analog stick sensitivity can be customized.

Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku

In 2015, Microsoft revealed the Elite Series Xbox controller, a premium gamepad for players who can recount their Call of Duty kill/death ratio faster than their Social Security number. An entire console generation later and Sony’s now getting in the game too with the DualSense Edge, a souped up PlayStation 5 controller that promises “high performance and personalization” for the not so low price of $200. It’s coming out in January 2023, and Microsoft is responding with its most customizable Elite Series 2 to date.

“The DualSense Edge wireless controller features a host of hardware and software-based personalization options, including button remapping, the ability to fine-tune stick sensitivity and triggers, options to swap between multiple control profiles, and a unique on-controller user interface,” Sony detailed on the PlayStation blog on Tuesday. There are back buttons and trigger sensitivity sliders, and everything from the analog stick pads to the face buttons can be swapped out and programmed in case you are a freak and want to put the square button on the left bumper or something.

None of this comes cheap, however. Sony also revealed today that the DualSense Edge will be half the price of an all-digital PS5 when it ships on January 26 (too late for God of War Ragnarök but just in time for the Dead Space remake). Not too long ago, players were already flinching from the new $70 price point for the base model DualSense, especially after a couple class-action lawsuits alleged defects related to joystick drift. Sony also just recently raised the price of PS5s across much of the rest of the world.

It’s not much more expensive than Microsoft’s Elite Series 2, which costs $180 if you want the full kit with all of the additional custom parts. But despite helping to create the market for pricey deluxe gamepads, and perhaps sensing an opening to undercut its longtime rival, Microsoft announced today that players can start designing their custom Elite Series 2 controller color scheme for as little as $150 (or as much as $210 if you want the full custom kit). The DualSense Edge, meanwhile, is only debuting in white.

Today, the Elite Series 2 was added to Microsoft’s Design Lab,which lets you mix and match buttons and cover colors. Grabbing the full suite of add-ons still runs an additional $60, but being able to pick and choose the colors certainly makes paying almost double for a standard Xbox controller a bit more appealing. While no one’s gone hands-on with the DualSense Edge yet, the Elite Series 2 is a known quantity that’s well worth the price for anyone who has particular controller preferences, wants to game competitively, or has nothing better to drop $100 on.

It’s yet another frontier on which Sony and Microsoft can compete as the two trade barbed legal filings in the UK and other countries over the latter’s $69 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard. At least in this sphere, the results have been positive, letting PS5 owners finally have the same controller flexibility as their counterparts on PC and Xbox. Maybe it will finally encourage Nintendo to release its own $200 pair of deluxe Joy-Con that last more than a year before becoming plagued by drift.

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