It's been a minute or two since the last time Microsoft overhauled its game controller for its Xbox consoles, or otherwise made any significant changes. Is a redesign coming? Perhaps so, according to new patents the company filed, which detail some alternations to the trigger design and other parts of the controller mechanics.
To be clear, Microsoft has not yet announced a new controller. There has been chatter of a second generation Xbox Elite Wireless Controller, and there have even been some leaked images, but nothing official. The Elite is sort of a different beast anyway—it's billed as "the world's most advanced controller" and carries a premium price tag, at $149.99 MSRP.
Image Source: USPTO
As for the regular controller, Microsoft apparently obtained several interesting patents last month. One of the patents deals solely with improvements to the trigger feedback.
"A user-input device includes a user-actuatable trigger configured to pivot about a trigger axis, a rack gear interfacing with the user-actuatable trigger, a force-feedback motor including a drive gear interfacing with the rack gear, and a posture sensor configured to determine a posture of the user-actuatable trigger about the trigger axis. The force-feedback motor is configured to drive the rack gear based on a force-feedback signal," MIcrosoft explains in its patent.
There's another patent application that details an adjustable-tension trigger. Just as it sounds, this would enable developers to program different levels of resistance on the triggers, based on what's taking place in the game. It's all about increasing the level of immersion, just as rumble feedback is supposed to do.
Whether these designs find their way into a new controller remains to be seen. It's also possible that these patents could hint at what is to come for the controllers that ship with the next Xbox console, currently codenamed Xbox Scarlett, if recent rumors are to be believed.