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Xbox One Controller Cost Over $100 Million To Develop

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

XBox (Games) 206

mrspoonsi writes "The Xbox One controller went through many radical designs, including a built-in pico projector and a cartridge designed to release smell. Apparently, 'the core base didn't appreciate them,' so these wacky features were dropped in favor of a standard controller. According to VentureBeat, over $100 million worth of research went into the design they ended up using. 'Microsoft’s first tweaks for a new controller focused on the overall size and how it’d fit into hands, golden or otherwise. Using the Xbox 360 controller as a starting point, the engineers would make plastic-molded or 3D-printed prototypes that were each 1 millimeter wider or narrower than the last, testing a full range of up to plus or minus 8 millimeters. “That gave us the ability to test, with actual users including women and children, which width feels best,” said Morris. “We tested with more than 500 people throughout the course of the project. All ages, all abilities.” ... Morris and his team then looked at different thicknesses and shapes of the grips (or “lobes,” as he calls them), plus the angle of the triggers, different styles of analog sticks, and more.'"

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206 comments

Wow... (3, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 5 months ago | (#45468695)

Seriously? OVER a million? It's a nice controller, but really... Maybe this is one of the things wrong with Microsoft (and perhaps many big corps these days), they are not "nimble" and hevent been for at least 20 years. They have a lot to overcome if they want to remain "relevent", and Ballmer's departure is onle a very small part of that.

Re:Wow... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468785)

Microsoft does actually do some good human factors development. The really got it wrong with the very first Xbox controller, but it's been good after that.

It's ironic though, that they spent a lot of dough to come up with the Start button in Windows 95, and defended it well, only to trash it in Windows 8. That makes me think they do good research, but have lousy management.

I will not miss Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft's abhorrently human factors design (0, Troll)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#45469559)

Microsoft does actually do some good human factors development......spent a lot of dough to come up with the Start button in Windows 95, and defended it well, only to trash it in Windows 8. That makes me think they do good research, but have lousy management.

this is madness...

M$ is horrible at 'human factors design'. I used to be an adjunct prof. teaching Human/Computer Interaction. Consistently, when a big company tried to integrate 'U/X' or 'human factors design' (the 90s version of U/X) it becomes abstraction layer hell burdening resources w/ architecture the user turns off immediately after setup after purchase. ex: Clippy [wikipedia.org]

You mention the 'Start button' and the ridiculous money they spent to make it. Great example...like the Xbox One controller from TFA, it shows ***exactly*** why M$ design is awful.

***IT WAS A BUTTON THAT OPENED A PANE OF OTHER PROGAM ICONS****

the idea that making a button would require **any R/D at all** is insane...

Now let's talk about User Testing.

I've lead research projects examining internet technology and usability in several different contexts, from filming users on an iphone, doing all-device monitoring where a resarcher follows the subject all day and diaries what tech they interact with, testing the effectiveness of Bush-mandated abstanence-only website educadtion in Indiana, to simple likert scale user surverys

As a scientist, concerned about proper use of the scientific method & accurately contextualizing non-quantifiable factors, I have to say ****most user testing done in the industry is absolutely worthless****

TFA, Clippy, the fucking 'Start button', 'Metro'....it's all was obviously developed with the dumbest, most reductive user research available.

I love the domain of 'U/X'...the border between user and machine...it's challenging b/c it requires professional-level knowledge of both techinical and wholly-non technical information. It's the *future of design*...a cybernetic perspective...

But this is horseshit...I have to say 'human computer interaction' or people think I have a Marketing degree!!!!!

In defense of individual M$ designers who did nothing more than go to work and try to make the best product, fighting M$'s organizaitonal tendencies, fighting ass-kisser colleagues...for **THEM** I can acknowledge that their research wasnt wholly worthless as the data could be re-examined & tendencies observed. Also, I can acknowledge that in some parts of M$'s crap like Clippy I can see that *someone* on the team was putting the user's needs first.

All that time and money spent (4, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 5 months ago | (#45468795)

And they still end up with a single one-size-fits-all controller. If they just made two controllers to fit more of the broad range of hand sizes, they'd be so much better off for it.

Re:All that time and money spent (4, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#45468825)

They tried that with the first xbox.

Re:All that time and money spent (4, Funny)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 5 months ago | (#45468913)

I thought they released one for giants, and then realized that humans made up the overwhelming majority of their demographic, and released a second one for humans.

Re:All that time and money spent (2)

felixrising (1135205) | about 5 months ago | (#45469695)

It's that kind of thinking outside the box that risk averse, blame shifting, bureaucracy loving big business can't tolerate.

Re:All that time and money spent (2)

skine (1524819) | about 5 months ago | (#45469819)

I know that a lot of people hated the original Xbox controller, but I liked it better than any other Xbox controller.

Even at 14 when it came out, it fit my hands perfectly.

Re:All that time and money spent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469955)

Damn dude, you were 14 when the Xbox came out? You're a baby.

Re:All that time and money spent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469945)

Nah, they made the first one for men. The second, smaller one was for girls and boys with girly sized hands. "The Duke" feels quite comfy in my hands.

Re:All that time and money spent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468939)

No they didn't. They had a larger controller at first but not out of any attempt to help people with different size hands. They were just incompetent.

oblig PA
http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/03/25

Re:All that time and money spent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469117)

You keep using that word "obligatory". I don't think it means what you think it means.

Re:All that time and money spent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468853)

It's good ideas like this that are the reason you don't work at Microsoft.

Re:All that time and money spent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469733)

And they still end up with a single one-size-fits-all controller. If they just made two controllers to fit more of the broad range of hand sizes, they'd be so much better off for it.

I wish my girlfriend would say that.

Why not release multiple controllers? (4, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | about 5 months ago | (#45468819)

The researchers probably found there isn't just one controller - there were many, many good controllers, each for a different audience.

Why didn't they release multiple controllers, one for kids, one for adults? One for women, one for men? As Prego discovered, there isn't one spaghetti sauce that makes everyone happy; there are many, many sauces, all of which will make some people happy.

Re:Why not release multiple controllers? (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 months ago | (#45468999)

Or one basic controller and a series of variable-sized outer moldings you can just slip on/off depending on the size you want.

Re:Why not release multiple controllers? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 5 months ago | (#45469037)

Yes. If they went the iPhone route, they could have a large third party custom attachment industry come out of this, AND sell a small set of custom moldings themselves for marked up prices -- and sell it with the default. I bet you'd get a lot of easy revenue out of that; and since they've already done the testing, they know exactly what moldings to make themselves. File a patent and make a smart bus for add-on electronics :)

Re:Why not release multiple controllers? (4, Insightful)

quenda (644621) | about 5 months ago | (#45469433)

As Prego discovered, there isn't one spaghetti sauce that makes everyone happy;

Well, its all the same sauce, but you need different packaging and marketing to appeal to all consumers.

Re:Why not release multiple controllers? (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about 5 months ago | (#45469453)

... and install a hollow cube outfitted with kinect 2, that would measure your hands and recommend a suitable sized controller for you?

$100 million is a lot of money.

What about addressing the tons of us, who still prefer a KB/mouse combo to thumbsticks on a XBox controller? There are even XBox mouse/kb adapters out there to fulfill this demand.

Re:Why not release multiple controllers? (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 5 months ago | (#45469689)

Meh. They all still use those abortion-from-hell thumbsticks. I hate those things with a passion, "standard" or no. It's the main reason I don't have a console, and no interest in buying one.

Re:Wow... (0)

Tough Love (215404) | about 5 months ago | (#45468839)

they are not "nimble" and hevent been for at least 20 years

Was Microsoft ever nimble?

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468941)

Was Microsoft ever nimble?

Not recently enough to matter, but given this shitty economy we've had for year after year, investing that amount of money reinventing the Apple Hockey Puck mouse would have economic benefit to our society as a whole, so at least give them credit for investing. Many companys aren't.

Re:Wow... (4, Interesting)

ewibble (1655195) | about 5 months ago | (#45469033)

It cost over $100 million, the reason is if you have too much money, you spend too much money. There is very little reason for them to be efficient. Why do you think Facebook can offer $3 billion dollars for snapchat, a company that has no revenue. They have more money than they know what to do with.

Think of it this way if you got a billion dollars today you may go out and by some expensive sport car(s), would they get you from a to b any quicker, safer, more reliably, no, no, and no. You still need to keep to the speed limit, most cars can do that, with that extra power you are probably more likely to crash they are not designed for safety. A car like a Toyota is far more reliable. The only thing you gain is showing people you can afford to spend that much money on a car.

Sorry about the car analogy.

Look at these yachts, http://www.celebritynetworth.com/articles/entertainment-articles/10-expensive-yachts-world/ [celebritynetworth.com] number 1 is a fake but number 2. $800 mil for a yacht, that's 8 Xbox controllers.

Re:Wow... (2)

putaro (235078) | about 5 months ago | (#45469643)

Too true, though there is a difference between Facebook buying Instagram and MS spending $100M to create a controller. Acquisitions are often paid for in stock, which is inflated funny money. MS paid real money to develop that controller.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469747)

Pick a better car analogy. If I had a billion dollars, my sports car would get me there faster because I wouldn't obey traffic laws, confident I could buy my way out of the resulting violations.

Re:Wow... (4, Interesting)

SmaryJerry (2759091) | about 5 months ago | (#45469085)

Microsoft have teams that are way too large. Give a small motivated workforce of 5 people one month and they would probably come up with five better controllers. Microsoft loves to use big spend and big numbers as if that really means something. But at the end of the day it comes down the person leading the project and whether they can make right decisions or not. Clearly the leader of this project failed miserably if the best they could come up with with $100 million is just a remake of the previous controller.

Re:Wow... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469697)

They did large user studies. Those take time and money. Your 5 people can guess what other people will like and maybe or maybe not produce better controllers, but since MS ran studies, they have documented results on why some controller designs are better than others. If that's worth the $$$ or not only MS and the research community (assuming MS releases those papers) can say.

Re:Wow... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469113)

If they're assuming to sell around the amount the xbox 360 sold (~86 million global) then roughly $1 of the consoles price went into developing the controller. Not so bad then.

Re:Wow... (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 5 months ago | (#45469279)

Yeah, that's only 0.17% of the cost of an xbone when you add the Australia tax.

Re:Wow... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 months ago | (#45469623)

Kinda interesting though.

Nintendo do some R&D. Ends up with the Wii. Microsoft and Sony copies and make their own versions.

Microsoft spend $100 million on a new controller. Ends up with same old.

Re:Wow... (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | about 5 months ago | (#45469753)

This is actually the opposite of something that's wrong with a company. They used the money that they had in order to fund research in order to produce a better product, and somewhat simply to do new and interesting research. I can't see why you would think that this is a bad thing.

People cite the "nimble" bit when they mean that a company is stuck in its ways or unable to adapt to change. Doing major research and development is the opposite of that. It's where people who are experts in a field use their talents to really thoroughly explore new ideas.

Moreover, your assertion lies on the idea that, somehow, this research isn't paying off. The consequence of that would be that they somehow fail to make money on the XBox One. It's a little early to be calling the XBox One a commercial failure, given that it won't be.

as a shareholder... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468741)

it's nice to know that MSFT is so invested in getting its products right!

Someone is embezzling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468759)

Reminds me when Whirlpool released front loading washers here in the 90s, proudly boasting they spent over $60 million in R&D and they boasted how front loaders used 1/3 the water and less energy.... except that front loaders were popular in Europe since at least the 1950s; my grandma over there still has hers.

Re:Someone is embezzling... (2)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 5 months ago | (#45469009)

I agree that someone is embezzling, if taking a pointless research job and proving what you already know to be true while taking paychecks counts as embezzling. Some people call that a "jobs program". I call it Microsoft.

Variety (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468761)

MS could have saved some money by offering the controller in 2 or 3 sizes. Plus it would have set them apart from the other guys.

No stinking Xbox (1)

hsa (598343) | about 5 months ago | (#45468773)

and a cartridge designed to release smell

Damn, now I don't get to say: "Your Xbox stinks!"

Re:No stinking Xbox (1)

6ULDV8 (226100) | about 5 months ago | (#45469213)

I guess the fart app on my phone is as close as I can get for now. Maybe Xbox Deux will bring wholesome smell-o-vision...

I'm calling B.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468777)

VentureBeat may be correct in saying that Microsoft spent $100M to develop the controller... but come on.

There is no way you couldn't develop something just as good for a quarter that cost, or less. If this is true, Microsoft shareholders should be rioting over the amount of waste, fraud, and/or abuse that took place.

Obvious (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 5 months ago | (#45468791)

I hate to state the obvious, but no one controller design will be comfortable to such a wide variety of people. Either you have to target the core demographic responsible for the bulk of game sales, or you offer more than one size controller. Anything else sounds like a waste of time.

Re:Obvious (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 5 months ago | (#45469047)

One thing I thought was interesting about the WiiMote was that it was one of the only (probably the only popular one) controller which was ambidextrous. I'm not aware of anybody who uses it the other way around, but maybe some southpaws could chime in here. Most of them would likely already be conditioned to using left hand thumbstick from years of gaming, and any advantage to holding it the other way around would be lost by having to relearn all their skills.

I think you really hit the nail on the head here. What we really need is many different sizes of controllers, as long as they all have the same number of buttons,thumbsticks, and d-pads.

Re:Obvious (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 5 months ago | (#45469139)

It's probably not a coincidence, given that Miyamoto is left-handed. And remember, the Wii also targeted people who weren't already avid gamers, and wouldn't be conditioned.

Re:Obvious (3, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | about 5 months ago | (#45469261)

One thing I thought was interesting about the WiiMote was that it was one of the only (probably the only popular one) controller which was ambidextrous.

Interesting point. It was physically ambidextrous in the sense that it was symmetrical, but it was far from ambidextrous.

Any game that required you to hold it like a gamepad presumed it would be the same orientation, (ie like an NES gamepad). To reprogrammit to work the 'other way' would require both the buttons to be swapped and the d-pad inverted. I don't think many (if any) titles supported that.

And when held like a remote, it was more ambidextrous than most games, but often the game needed to be designed for lefties, or allow for it.

Wii Sports for example let you set left and right handed use, for each sport individually. (Kudos to Nintendo there; I do most of the sports left handed, but I golf right handed (and not especially well) due to having grown up in a house with only right handed clubs.)

But many of the 3rd party mini-games & party games did not allow for left handed use. Usually things were fine, but there'd always be one or two spots where it would go all wrong.

The one that leaps to mind was a frisbee toss minigame in one of the titles we had.

The game was expecting a left to right-up flick. So attempting it left handed was a right to left flick, and it went all wrong. Most of the time it didn't even recognize the flick at all, would react half-assed before or after the actual flick. You could hold it upside down, but that was still botched because down was now up. And it would react like you just threw it into the ground.

I just switched to doing it right handed. Kind of annoying really.

For what its worth as background, as a lefty I liked the xbox 360 controller (don't have an xbox, but have a controller paired with my PC); and I liked the wii-u classic controller. I FPS with my right hand on WASD, and my left on the mouse. The mouse I'm currently using is a razer deathadder left handed model, with the buttons programmed so that the left mouse button is on the left. (I like the left mouse for the ergo comfort, but after years of using RH mice, my middle finger is my 'left click', and my index finger is 'right'. (The fact that Razer defaults them 'backwards' drives me nuts, as after a reboot, the buttons are backwards until the razer programmability software is loaded, which is retarded.)

I also tried switching them in the windows mouse control panel, but that had all kinds of side effects... they were right on my desktop, but backwards when I RDP into another unit... which was far more annoying than the couple seconds of stupid at startup.

If Razer is reading this, save which button is left and right right on the mouse itself. But I'm well and off on a tangent now. :)

Re:Obvious (3, Informative)

Ambvai (1106941) | about 5 months ago | (#45469877)

Left-handed writer, right-hand mouse, right-hand scissors, left-hand golfer and... left-handed Wiimote user. It didn't really occur to me that anything was particularly unusual until I was playing one of those dance games that uses the Remote+Nunchuck and I kept failing everything because I was holding them in the "opposite" hand. (Thankfully, a lot of games will either auto-calibrate for that, or have control settings to pick. This one... didn't.)

If it ain't broke... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 5 months ago | (#45468807)

Looks like they didn't make any substantial changes to it besides moving the home button and going with a different design for the D-pad, which was more or less perfected in the SNES/Genesis era.

That's because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468817)

You're doing it wrong!

That's not exactly right... (4, Insightful)

Apathist (741707) | about 5 months ago | (#45468835)

"over $100 million worth of research went into the design they ended up using"

Well, that's not quite true. Perhaps $100M went into designing and testing all the different prototypes they ultimately discarded, and the one they used... but the one that they finally decided upon only cost a fraction of that.

Re:That's not exactly right... (2)

real gumby (11516) | about 5 months ago | (#45468885)

Indeed, and Microsoft only spend $2 on that disk and box of Windows you bought.

And come to think of it the price they charge for Widows is outrageous, since I not only have to pay for it but also each bug that was written, then found in testing, and then fixed. And why should they consider the money spent on writing test cases as part of their costs? Outrageous!

At least with Linux I can get a full refund. Take that, Microsoft!

Re:That's not exactly right... (2)

Apathist (741707) | about 5 months ago | (#45468969)

Normally I'd agree with the point you almost managed to make, which is that development costs necessarily include dead-ends and mistakes... but in this case they're including the development cost of things like smelly controllers, which should have been an obviously* stupid idea to all involved.

*Oh, the fragrance of faux-blood/gunpowder/explosions. Just what I wanted in my living room.

Re:That's not exactly right... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468927)

When I was in a large bleeding edge project, we went through making multiple ASIC, our own processor, PCB design and a large software team and that burn rate was about $1 mil per month.

I can't believe that a game controller would need 8 years worth of R&D that we were doing into it.

Re: That's not exactly right... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468955)

I don't follow your logic. If I have to spend 100M on prototypes for a project to get to a final solution, which itself only had cost of $50, I can't just ignore the 100M and say it only costed me $50 to develop. Without the initial 100M I would have never got to the solution that costs $50.

Re:That's not exactly right... (3, Interesting)

Ambvai (1106941) | about 5 months ago | (#45469921)

Very likely. If they did a good job testing things, then they had to actually design and produce, in limited quantities, all the actual controllers to be given to be people, or at least have them with interchangeable parts when possible.

I participate in surveys and focus groups when I can and they can be quite interesting, and expensive on the part of the tester. A few months back, I had the opportunity to try various formulations of a hard cider produced by a major beer company. (I want to say it was Coors, based on the demo packaging, but that's probably wrong.) One at a time, they gave me sealed cans of slightly-different ciders in nondescript packaging with instructions to pour it into a (new) cup, munch on various snack foods, fill out the survey, call the guy in for the next can, repeat, for a total of 8 different versions. For my trouble, I got to keep the half-eaten bag of crackers, drink all the cider I wanted until I decided to leave (or got drunk, I suppose), and 50$ cash.

Another time, I got a steak dinner, with dessert, and a voucher to some mail order company where I got a free set of pots and pans. What were they actually testing? Steak sauce.

There's a lot of random stuff in R&D... and paying the subjects are an area that can add up to be intriguingly costly.

Why not custom controllers.. with support for more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468917)

inputs and shit like head trackers?

I mean... this is 2013... YOU WOULD THINK Microsoft could ya'know... sell more controller DEV KITS, than actual controllers, and make some $$

A hundred million to change nothing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468921)

Thankfully there's Valve, who isn't terrified of any change to the Dualshock design whatsoever. Looking forward to getting my hands on a fully programmable controller, supposedly much better at shooters than a dualshock as well. "Consumers don't know what they want, because I haven't shown it to them yet" is apparently a phrase not heard of at either Sony or MS. They seem to stick to "do what already works and then charge them hundreds of dollars for it."

Smell-o-Vision (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468925)

It failed in the 60's for a good reason. it's a fucking stupid idea.

I'm glad too. The world smells bad enough already. Everyone is walking around in their own personal stench cloud. Shampoo,bodywash,deoderant,hairspray,perfume,aftershave,the smell of your dog, cat, house.

As someone with an overly sensitive nose. who once worked retail. you people reak. yes. even you. all of you.

Your name wouldn't happen to be Smith, would it? (5, Funny)

Valdrax (32670) | about 5 months ago | (#45469207)

As someone with an overly sensitive nose. who once worked retail. you people reak. yes. even you. all of you.

I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been infected by it.

Re:Your name wouldn't happen to be Smith, would it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469455)

Anyone using any Microsoft product knows how that feels. And yes, you have been infected by it.

Putting it in perspective (4, Interesting)

Alex Vulpes (2836855) | about 5 months ago | (#45468943)

Apparently it cost SpaceX around $300 million to develop the Falcon 9 rocket. That is one expensive controller.

Re:Putting it in perspective (0)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 months ago | (#45469025)

But yet it's 1/6th the cost of an obamacare website. So it's a cheap controller?

Re:Putting it in perspective (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 5 months ago | (#45469273)

Or 1/6 the cost of the software the runs the entire medicare/medicaid/ACA system which manages 1000X the entire development cost ($600B+) of all the software every.single.year.

I wonder, does the XBOX eco system generate $100 Billion a year? If not, maybe MS should farm out their work to gov't contractors. It's not like MS won't fuck it up anyway - might as well get it cheaper.

Only 500 People? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468957)

That is a lot of cash for such a small sample size. How is that meant to be representative? Willing to bet they where all from the same place too (ie: US city) not Asia, Europe, etc.

Even the 'more that' claus leaves me thinking they should have had more '0's on the end of that number.

Re:Only 500 People? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 5 months ago | (#45469713)

That is a lot of cash for such a small sample size. How is that meant to be representative? Willing to bet they where all from the same place too (ie: US city) not Asia, Europe, etc.

You'd probably lose this one: the Indian hands are cheaper.

(ducks)

The middle path (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 5 months ago | (#45468981)

Seems that in much the same way that having too little stifles creativity, so does having too much.

What they did here, basically, was shit a bunch of times into nice neat little carefully marked boxes, and then picked the one which stank the least.

I would call this process anti-creativity. Also, coincidentally, how most movies in Hollywood are now made.

Sheldon fixing eggs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45468993)

Sounds like Sheldon (the big bang theory) deciding he's going to fix eggs - embarking on an expensive and time consuming testing course and concluding that eggs are already as good as they're ever going to be.

What an improvement! (2)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 5 months ago | (#45469041)

So it took them 100M to change the basic shape, switch to micro USB for charging and move the Xbox button to the top?

In the end they settled on the same design with a few changes. That pretty much sums up Microsoft, they cant innovate. It sounds more like they were so desperate to try and outdo the PS4 they threw money at any stupid idea that came along without really thinking it out. Instead of trying to truly be original, they took a half-assed shotgun approach. Smell O vision, really? I understand it takes money to make prototypes but 100M sounds desperate.

Sega Dreamcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469045)

They probably included the cost of development of all the previous gamepads that finally evolved into the latest xbox controller.

talk about R&D gone wild (-1, Troll)

Locutus (9039) | about 5 months ago | (#45469059)

$100 million and what does it look like? Oh wait, this is the same company which hired researchers to give us Linux facts, came up with and stuck with Windows 95 when OS/2 was NextStep were out there. And who can forget Windows Vista.

I wonder how the next CEO would feel about this kind of profit wasting?

LoB

Well sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469065)

Microsoft, for all the suggestions made (only on Slashdot, not surprisingly) of its imminent demise, has a shitload of cash. To them, money is not an issue in winning the household battlefield - they'll throw as much money as required for as long as required until they win, either through an iteratively superior product, superior marketing, or just through plain attrition until the competition can't finance the war anymore. Microsoft will do ANYTHING to ensure long term victory. Worked for the XBox 360 and they're hoping it'll work for the Xbone. I don't care about consoles much so don't care either way, but this $100 million spent on developing a controller shows they aren't being conservative at all.

Hmm... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 5 months ago | (#45469099)

So they can drop 100 million on controller design but can't be bothered to make a surveymonkey poll to find out that their users still want to be able to sell used games before they shoot their mouth off about it at the opening presentation? The only thing that was more fun than watching that train wreck is the anticipation for SONY somehow managing to fuck up the golden opportunity they've been handed. However they do it, I'm sure it'll be epic. I mean, they could NOT fuck it up, but it's SONY we're talking about here...

Re:Hmm... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 5 months ago | (#45469293)

"... to find out that their users still want to be able to sell used games..."

Shhhh - don't tell anyone, but they knew that all along. If they thought their users wouldn't want to there would be no need to cut off that non-residual revenue source, would there?

It's sad, really (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469101)

There's something really sad in looking at all those research groups who fail to get adequate funding for medical research or research to otherwise improve a person's life, and yet a company is able to waste $100 million developing a single component for a fucking GAMING CONSOLE of all things.

Microsoft isn't a Government department and they can do what they like, but it's just so damn disproportionate the amount of money that goes into research in terms of long-term importance. People are dying because there's not enough research to treat various diseases, but fuck that, the angle permutations of a life-wasting device must be calculated precisely, gimme more money. OK, thanks. Fuck this planet.

Re:It's sad, really (1)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | about 5 months ago | (#45469465)

Remember though, that the shitloads of money Microsoft made for sir Gates has been dumped into all manner of medical research, and while the company may spend millions on development and investigation of smelly ideas, they also spend millions on disaster relief around the world, donations to charities, matching gifts for employee donations, etc.

There are many, many things wrong with Microsoft's corporate culture, but the amount they give to charity in support of all manner of humanitarian efforts is one of the things I've always really liked about them.

Disclaimer: I'm currently employed by Microsoft (for just a short while longer), however the opinion above is entirely my own.

Re:It's sad, really (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 5 months ago | (#45469489)

You don't realize this but at the end of that research it is unlikely you have improved anyone's life. At best you've made a small contribution which will sum to the whole which might eventually, someday, form the basis of a viable treatment for some new issue.

Something to keep in mind ... (5, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | about 5 months ago | (#45469253)

Even though you can whip together a simple controller for $10 (including labor) from a few switches and bits of wire, doesn't mean that you've accomplished the same thing as Microsoft.

On the technical end, you're dealing with a fair bit of electronics and software to support everything from reading a button's state to streaming audio from the console. On top of that, they have to consider factors such as ergonomics and marketing. For a company like Microsoft with competitors like Nintendo and Sony, it is best to do their homework first even if it ends up costing a lot more.

Re:Something to keep in mind ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469349)

Even though you can whip together a simple controller for $10 (including labor) from a few switches and bits of wire, doesn't mean that you've accomplished the same thing as Microsoft.

I find it difficult to believe that Microsoft has accomplished ten million times as much, though.

Still no cure for cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469365)

Still no cure for cancer:-(

$100 Million (2, Funny)

KlomDark (6370) | about 5 months ago | (#45469437)

...and instead, the Russians just used a pencil.

Re:$100 Million (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469509)

Myth... some guy approached NASA with an alternative to the hazardous pencil in space.

Re:$100 Million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469539)

...and instead, the Russians just used a pencil.

And that's why their space program is so successful.

The Wii made bank with a controller (2)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 5 months ago | (#45469497)

A good area to put research into, in my opinion. Valve may have won the new controller research, but we'll have to wait and see.

The single most important factor in a console is the control scheme. If the control scheme sucks, it feels like PC console ports do.

Smell-o-vision AND pico projector? I'd get it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469557)

Seriously, where can I sign up to get a game controller that does all that? I honestly would love to know what my waifu smells like in my imported Japanese sims game. I'm sure the pico projector would have been great for those late-night don't tell mommy sessions for teenagers lol.

Not quite $100 Million (1)

GrendelT (252901) | about 5 months ago | (#45469619)

No, no, no. They spent $100 Million to develop it, but it didn't cost that - there's a difference.

Someone wasted some money (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#45469797)

If you think about it, there should be one ideal basic controller shape. Yet Sony and the XBox One have different controllers...

I guess it comes down to which 500 people you are using as testers.

1.9 Billion to go (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45469865)

You see, they need something to spend the money they get from android royalties.

http://slashdot.org/story/13/11/06/2135236/microsoft-makes-an-astonishing-2-billion-per-year-from-android-patent-royalties

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