Xbox controllers

Xbox Wireless Controller

Primary game controller for the Xbox platform


A black Xbox Wireless Controller in the 2013 design

TypeVideo game controller
GenerationEighth and ninth generation
Release date
  • NA: November 22, 2013
  • EU: November 22, 2013 (some countries, 2014 for others)
  • AU: November 22, 2013
  • BRA: December 1, 2014
  • JP: September 4, 2014
  • Digital D-Pad
  • 2 × analog triggers (LT, RT)
  • 2 × shoulder buttons (LB, RB)
  • 2 × clickable Analog sticks
    (left stick click, right stick click)
  • 7 × digital buttons
    (Y, B, A, X, Menu, View, Xbox)
  • Wireless pairing button
  • Share button (fourth revision)
Current firmware2.3.2385.0
4.8.1923.0 (second revision)
5.7.2688.0 (third revision)
Dimensions6.02 in × 4.01 in × 2.4 in
153 mm × 102 mm × 61 mm
PredecessorXbox 360 controller

The Xbox Wireless Controller is the primary game controller for the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/Shome video game consoles, also commercialized for its use in Windows-based PCs, and compatible with other operating systems such as macOS, Linux, iOS and Android. The controller maintains the overall layout found in the Xbox 360 controller, but with various tweaks to its design, such as a revised shape, redesigned analog sticks, shoulder buttons, and triggers, along with new rumble motors within the triggers to allow for directional haptic feedback.

It has had three revisions with several changes to the controller's design and functionality. Microsoft also markets the Elite Wireless Controller, a premium version geared towards professional gamers, including interchangeable parts and programmability features. In turn, each of the aforementioned variations has been offered in various color schemes, some featuring special designs tying into specific games. The Xbox Series X and Series S introduced an updated version of the controller, with further refinements to its shape and ergonomics.




The Xbox One controller retains roughly the same layout as the Xbox 360 controller, including four main face buttons, two shoulder bumpers, two analog triggers, two analog sticks and a digital D-pad. The "Start" and "Back" buttons are replaced by "Menu" and "View" buttons, while the Guide button now consists of a white backlit Xbox logo, and does not feature the "ring of light" that served as an indicator for the controller's assigned number (1 to 4).


Microsoft invested over $100 million into refining the controller design for the Xbox One; internal designers had created prototypes with various tweaks and refinements to the design over the Xbox 360 controller, along with those including unorthodox features such as embedded screens and speakers (which were rejected due to their effects on battery life, and redundancy to the main display and sound system), and the ability to emit odors.[1]

The Xbox One controller maintains the overall layout found in the Xbox 360 controller's design, but with enhancements such as redesigned grips, a smoother build, and the removal of the protruding battery compartment. The controller also contains light emitters that allow it to be tracked and paired using Kinect sensor, and to detect when it is not being held to automatically enter a low-power state. The controller contains a micro USB port, enabling wired use of the controller with the console or on computers running Windows 7 or later with drivers, and firmware updates.[2][3][4][5] For communication, the controller uses a new proprietary protocol with a greater bandwidth than the wireless protocol used by the Xbox 360 controller, reducing latency and allowing for higher quality headset audio.[3][4]

The analog sticks feature a new textured rim, while the D-pad was changed to use a more traditional 4-way design rather than the circular 8-way design of the 360 controller. This change was made partially due to criticism by players of fighting games who, despite the use of "sweeps" across the D-pad in these games being part of the motivation for the 8-way design, felt that the Xbox 360's D-pad performed poorly in that type of game. The updated 4-way design is also better suited for use as individual keys in games that use them for item selection.[6] The design of the face buttons was revised to improve their legibility, using a three-layer design consisting of a black background, colored letter, and a clear covering intended to make the letter appear to "hover" inside it. The buttons themselves are also spaced slightly closer together.[7]

The bumpers and trigger buttons were overhauled with a new curved shape to improve their ergonomics, as the user's fingers now naturally lie at an angle upon them unlike the straighter design on Xbox 360 controllers. The bumpers were also made flush with the triggers. The triggers themselves now have a smoother feel, and were made more accurate.[7] Each trigger features independent rumble motors called "Impulse Triggers", which allows developers to program directional vibration. One trigger can be made to vibrate when firing a gun, or both can work together to create feedback that indicates the direction of an incoming hit.[8]


Location of model number, on printed label inside battery compartment. This is the Model 1708 (2016 revision) controller.

Original version (2013)[edit]

The original controller launched with the Xbox One console in November 2013 was black, with colored face buttons. A commemorative white variant was issued to Microsoft employees at launch, but was not available to the public until almost a year later, initially bundled with a matching white console and Sunset Overdrive.

First revision (2015)[edit]

On June 9, 2015, Microsoft unveiled a revised version of the standard controller, with model 1697. Its shoulder buttons were redesigned for improved responsiveness, a 3.5 mm headphone jack was added near the controller's expansion port, and support for wireless firmware updates was added.[9][10]

Analog (3.5 mm) headset jack (L) and digital chatpad/headset adapter interface, Model 1697 controller

Externally, few changes were made; the main distinguishing feature of the 2015 revision (Model 1697) compared with the original (Model 1537) is the presence of the headphone jack on the bottom of the controller.

Second revision (2016)[edit]

A second revision of the controller, model 1708, was introduced alongside the Xbox One S, an updated model of the Xbox One console unveiled in June 2016. It features textured grips, and additionally supports Bluetooth for use with compatible PCs and mobile devices.[11][12] Users can also custom-order this controller revision via the "Xbox Design Lab" service, with their choice of colors, and an optional inscription of their Xbox Live screen name for an additional fee.[13]

The second revision can be distinguished from prior revisions by the color and texture of the plastic surrounding the lit Xbox/guide button. Prior controller models (1537 and 1697) have a separate piece of black glossy plastic, with the Model 1698 "Elite" also having a separate piece in black, dark red, or white. In the second revision (Model 1708) the front shell of the controller is a single piece, and the part surrounding the Xbox button now matches the texture and color of the controller. It has been made available in white, black, red, and blue colors, as well as other limited edition colors.[14]

Third revision (2020)[edit]

A third revision of the controller was released in November 2020, bundled with Xbox Series X and Series S, while still backwards compatible with existing Xbox One consoles. It has a refined build with a slightly smaller body, a "Share" button on the center of the controller below the "View" and "Menu" buttons, a circular dished D-pad similar to the Elite Controller, and a USB-C connector instead of USB Micro-B.[15][16][17] The controller also supports Bluetooth Low Energy, and can be paired to a Bluetooth device and an Xbox device simultaneously.[18][19] The controller also includes Dynamic Latency Input, sending controller information to the console more frequency and in time with the current framerate as to reduce the latency between user input and reaction in the game.[20] Starting in September 2021 through the Xbox Insider program, Microsoft started rolling out the improved Bluetooth and latency features from these newer controllers to its official Xbox One controllers, including the Xbox Adaptive Controller.[21]

Microsoft announced in June 2021 that the Xbox Design Lab will continue with the Series X/S controllers, allowing users to create their own custom designs.[22]


All of the controllers in this table are fully compatible with any Xbox One consoles, up to X/S Series.

Model[a]Intro.Disc.3.5 mm jackBluetoothUSBThumbnailNotes
1537 20132015 No NoNo No Micro-BXbox One Controller (11044311844).jpgControllers packed with launch-day systems are marked "DAY ONE 2013" with chrome d-pad.[23]
1697 20152016 Yes YesNo No Xbox One controller white (39802077275).jpgStandard 3.5 mm audio jack added to bottom of controller.[24] Capable of receiving firmware updates wirelessly from Xbox One console.[25]
1698 "Elite" 2019 Yes YesNo No[26]Xbox One Elite Controller (front).jpgInterchangeable thumbsticks and d-pad; detachable paddles on underside duplicating face buttons; rubberized grip; trigger locks.[27] Standard color scheme is black and silver, but the Elite controller was later available in a predominantly red special edition Gears of War 4-branded theme and a Robot White theme.
1708 2016Yes YesYes Yes Xbox One controller model 1708 (39160219920) (cropped).jpgIntroduced with the Xbox One S.[11] Distinguished from earlier versions by texture and color of plastic surrounding Xbox home button, which now matches the rest of the controller body. Includes Bluetooth wireless connectivity in addition to the prior proprietary wireless protocol.
1797[b] "Elite 2" 2019Yes YesYes Yes USB-CXbox One Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 (Model 1797).jpgCompared to the 1698 "Elite", "Elite 2" adds a third trigger lock position, adjustable thumbstick tension, extended rubber grip (wrapping around to the front side), Bluetooth connectivity, and an internal rechargeable battery.[28]
1914 2020 Yes Yes Yes Yes Xbox Core Controller Carbon Black.jpgIntroduced with the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, featuring a slightly smaller body, a "Share" button, a flat concave D-pad similar to the Elite Controller, and a USB-C connector.[15][16][17]
  1. ^The model number is printed on the sticker in the battery compartment.
  2. ^Because the Elite Series 2 has an internal battery, the model number is printed in black ink on the bottom of the controller.

Colors and styles[edit]

Main article: List of Xbox Wireless Controller special editions

Besides standard colors, "special" and "limited edition" Xbox Wireless Controllers have also been sold by Microsoft with special color and design schemes, sometimes tying into specific games.[29]

Xbox Design Lab[edit]

Custom color combinations are available for the Xbox One S controller (Model 1708) at extra cost through the Xbox Design Lab service. According to Microsoft, there are approximately eight million different combinations.[13][30] Access to the service began on June 13, 2016, and customized controllers started to ship at the end of August;[31] the initial pricing was $79.95/$99.95 (US/Canada), with an additional $9.99/14.99 (USD/CAD) fee for laser-engraved text up to 16 characters.[13][30]

Starting in summer 2017, additional color choices were added and the customization service was extended to countries in Europe.[32] Starting price in the UK was GB£69.99, with initial availability limited to the UK, France, and Germany starting in June 2017;[33] the program was expanded to 24 more European countries starting August 21.[34] Xbox partnered with McCann London to launch the "Xbox Design Lab Originals" program in 2017; the program, which McCann called "The Fanchise Model", allows consumers to earn a portion of the sales by creating and marketing their custom designs through Xbox Design Lab. Social media influencers began advertising the service on April 1, 2017, and a feature that allowed consumers to "claim [their] design" was added to the store on May 1, with retail support commencing on May 30.[35] It was credited with increasing controller sales by 350%; the campaign was awarded the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2018 by the Creative eCommerce Lions[36][37] and Clio Awards in multiple categories, including public relations and games.[38][39]

The service was suspended temporarily from October 14, 2020[40] to June 17, 2021, when it restarted using the newest controller (Model 1914) introduced with the Series X/S; the price of a custom controller was reduced to US$69.95.[41] 14 of the 18 colors now are produced using plastic with 30% post-consumer recycled material, by weight; the exceptions are Robot White, Pulse Red, Zest Orange, and Regal Purple.[42]

Elite controller[edit]

Elite on display at Gamescom 2015, with accessories

Underside, with paddles installed and reduced trigger distance

On June 15, 2015, during its E3 2015 press conference, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller, a new controller which Xbox division head Phil Spencer described as being "an elite controller for the elite gamer". It features a steel construction with a soft-touch plastic exterior, along with interchangeable rear paddle buttons (with either short or long forms), analog stick tops (original Xbox one stick, a convex dome, and an extended version for increased accuracy), and directional pad designs (either the traditional four-way design, or a concave disc-like design), and "hair trigger locks" for the triggers that allow users to reduce the amount of distance required to register a press. Through software, users can customize button and paddle mappings and adjust the sensitivity of the triggers and analog sticks. Two button profiles can be assigned to a switch on the controller for quick access. The Elite Controller was released on October 27, 2015.[43][44][45]

Cosmetic variants[edit]

A special Gears of War 4-themed limited edition variant of the Elite controller was unveiled during Microsoft's E3 2016 press conference. It features a rustic, dark red color scheme with a blood splatter effect and the series emblem on the rear of the controller, and a D-pad disc with weapon symbols corresponding to the in-game weapons bound to these controls.[46]

A White Special Edition of the controller was announced on August 29, 2018. Although a revised Elite controller was leaked early in 2018 incorporating functional changes, the White Special Edition was another cosmetic variant of the original Elite.[47]

Series 2[edit]

Series 2 (top) and original Elite (bottom) controllers

Plans for a revised version of the Elite controller were leaked in January 2018, with a number of new features, including USB-C connector, and other hardware improvements such as three-level Hair Trigger Locks, adjustable tension for the thumbsticks, revised rubber grips, three user-defined profile settings, and Bluetooth connectivity, which had been introduced with the revised Xbox One S controller in 2016.[47][48]

At E3 2019, Microsoft announced they would begin taking pre-orders for the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2; the controller would be available starting on November 4, 2019 at a suggested retail price of US$179.99.[49]

Support on other platforms[edit]

Drivers were released in June 2014 to allow Xbox One controllers to be used over a USB connection on PCs running Windows 7 or later.[50] The Xbox One Wireless Adapter for Windows is a USB dongle that allows up to eight controllers to be used at once wirelessly. Upon its release in October 2015, it was supported only by Windows 10. Drivers for Windows 7 and 8.1 were released in December 2015.[51][52] An updated version of the adapter, with a smaller form factor, was released in August 2017.[53]

Per a partnership between Microsoft and Oculus VR, the Oculus Rift CV1virtual reality headset initially included an Xbox One controller, up until the launch of the Oculus Touchmotion controllers.[54]

On Windows 10, support for the controller is built-in, including support for wireless audio when using the wireless dongle or USB cable (it is not supported over Bluetooth). The controller is also manageable via the Xbox Accessories app, whose features include button remapping (for both the regular and Elite controller), input tests, and firmware update. On Windows 7 or 8.1, drivers are required, and the aforementioned features are not available.[55]

Microsoft also supports Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controllers on Android, specifically listing support for Minecraft: Gear VR Edition on certain Samsung Galaxy devices.[56]

On Linux, Xbox One controllers are supported by the xpad USB driver.[57] There also exists an alternative xpadneo driver, which supports some controller revisions that are not supported by the xpad driver, as well as additional features. Some of these additional features, such as driver support for the trigger rumble motors, aren't even supported on Windows 10.[58]

In June 2019, Apple announced support for Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controllers in iOS 13, macOS Catalina and tvOS 13, which became available in the fall of 2019.[59][60]


Stereo headset adapter[edit]

The Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter allows the use of headsets with 3.5 millimeter headphone jacks with the original Xbox One controller, which does not include a 3.5 mm jack. An adapter for 2.5 mm headphone jacks is also included.[61]


A keyboard chatpad attachment, similar to the Xbox 360 Messenger Kit, was unveiled at Gamescom on August 4, 2015.[62]

Play and Charge Kit[edit]

Similarly to the Xbox 360 version, the Play and Charge kit is the official rechargeable battery pack for Xbox One controllers. An updated version of the Play and Charge kit was required for the Series X/S controllers, as the regular Xbox One kits do not fit in the X/S controller's battery compartment. The Series X/S kit includes a USB-C cable instead of micro USB.[63]


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Despite their 2020 release date, the Xbox Series X and Series S are still in very high demand. If, despite low supply, you’ve managed to snag a new Xbox Series console, you’ll be happy to know that they are both widely compatible with older Xbox equipment, including games, controllers, headsets, and more. But for folks looking to get the latest and greatest in controller tech, we’ve curated a list of the best Xbox controllers for Series X and Series S.

What to Consider

Picking out the perfect Xbox controller can be a bit confusing at first, as most controllers seem very similar. The best way to start is by deciding what is most important for your individual needs. A controller for an aspiring Halo pro looks very different from a controller for a crowded household. Give your needs some thought, then dive into our top-rated recommendations.

How We Selected

Many of these recommendations come from hundreds of hours of in-house use. For the products we couldn’t test ourselves, we perform intensive research, reviewing content from expert sources like Wirecutter, The Verge, CNET, Tom’s Guide, DigitalTrends, and others, as well as thousands of consumer reviews from online storefronts like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. As for the products themselves, we evaluated them on functionality, design, and price.

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Best Overall

Xbox Core Controller



The best overall Xbox controller remains the one that comes in the box: Microsoft’s own Core controller. At first glance, you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference between this wireless controller and last generation’s. The biggest change is the D-pad, which now features an eight-directional rocker that’s great for fighting games and platformers. The new central Share button makes sharing content a cinch. 

On the subtler end, the Core controller is slightly smaller than the previous One controller, making it a little easier for younger gamers to handle.

The only real downside is that the Core controller, bafflingly, still runs on two regular double AA batteries.

  • Excellent, ergonomic control layout
  • 3.5mm headphone/headset jack
  • Variety of colors (especially through Xbox Design Lab)

Best Premium

Xbox Elite Series 2



For gamers that want a premium-quality experience out of every interaction, look no further than Microsoft’s Elite Series 2 controller. Especially compared to a standard controller, the Elite Series 2 feels high-quality. 

To start, it’s solidly built, features excellent grippy textures throughout, and is USB-C rechargeable. But the main draw has to be the customization. Inside the included carrying case, the Elite Series 2 comes with six different thumbsticks, four rear paddle buttons, and two different D-pads. This customization is easy to pull off thanks to a profile switcher in the form of a switch on the controller’s back shoulder. 

If you are a heavy Xbox user, consider the Elite Series 2 for a premium all-around experience.

  • Intensely swappable thumbsticks and buttons
  • Long-lasting USB-C rechargeable battery
  • Four rear paddle buttons

Best Budget

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller (Series X/S)


Controller costs can escalate quickly in households with a lot of frequent gamers. Luckily, if you are willing to forgo Bluetooth, the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is a very affordable multi-buy option. 

It’s incredibly comfortable and ergonomic, and features a 3.5mm stereo headset jack, just like the Xbox Core controller. The included ten foot USB cable is detachable, making it easy to store. It even has two back programmable back buttons on each controller grip for added utility. 

For gamers on a budget, this controller by PowerA is a great option.

  • Ergonomic control layout with textured grip
  • Wired USB-C cable is detachable
  • Two programmable back buttons
  • No wireless connectivity
  • Headset controls are finicky

Best for Competitors

Razer Wolverine Ultimate Officially Licensed Xbox One Controller


For any seriously competitive Xbox gamer, the standard controller options may leave something to be desired. That’s where Razer’s Wolverine Ultimate comes into play. Like the Elite Series 2, the Wolverine Ultimate comes in a carrying case with a variety of swappable thumbsticks and D-pads.

But it’s in the button layout that the Wolverine Ultimate stands out, with two additional shoulder buttons on the top, four paddle buttons on the back, and trigger sensitivity switches. Combined with a profile switcher and audio controls at the bottom, the Wolverine Ultimate offers a diverse range of controls in a tight package.

Anyone looking to get an edge on the competition should give this controller a serious look.

  • Additional shoulder and back buttons
  • Long, detachable, USB-C cable
  • Razer’s Chroma lighting

Best for Accessibility

Xbox Adaptive Controller



For any gamer with specific mobility or accessibility needs, take a look at the Xbox Adaptive Controller. Designed by Microsoft specifically for gamers with limited mobility, it is one of the only controllers that can take on dozens of different form factors. 

The base controller features two large programmable buttons and basic Xbox buttons, but the main draw are the nineteen 3.5mm ports on the top of the case. Through them, users can connect all sorts of control devices and map them to different buttons and inputs, creating an individualized custom experience. 

While some input accessories can get pricey, the overall package is excellent for gamers with specific accessibility needs.

  • Large central playing surface
  • Two USB ports and nineteen 3.5mm ports for wide customization
  • Accessories and add-ons can get pricey
  • Complex setup process

Best Arcade Stick

HORI Fighting Stick alpha


For fans of stellar console fighting games like Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat, and Tekken, a great arcade stick, or “fight stick,” is a must-have. While there are many available options, we recommend the HORI Fighting Stick alpha, a premium quality, tournament-ready fight stick. The alpha is heavy at 7.5 pounds, but that serious weight means it always sits steady even during intense fights. 

The metal chassis features premium Hayabusa parts, including an octagonal eight-directional joystick, ultra-responsive face buttons, and Xbox-specific inputs like a headset port, share button, voice controls, and more. 

Fighting games are particularly demanding on controllers, but the Fighting Stick alpha rises to the challenge and delivers in all aspects.

  • Incredible build quality, durability, and responsiveness
  • Xbox-specific input controls

Best Flight Stick

Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS One



Using a more specialized controller can make any game feel more immersive, responsive, and fun. This is especially true for games with simulated flight like Microsoft Flight Simulator or Elite Dangerous

If you’re looking to get more out of these kinds of games, the simple yet all-inclusive Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS One is a great pick. Using the popular flight stick and throttle layout, the HOTAS One delivers immersive and entertaining flight control with a simple plug-and-play setup. The flight stick has a central trigger and left-side control stick while the throttle houses most common buttons and a left-right rocker. 

While there are pricey options out there, the HOTAS One is the best bang-for-your-buck, and immediately enhances any flight-based Xbox game.

  • Great flight controller for beginners
  • Adjustable stick tension via button knob
  • Purely plastic build quality
  • No resistance on the throttle

Best Racing Wheel

THRUSTMASTER TMX Force Feedback Racing Wheel (XBOX Series X/S, XOne, & Windows)



Xbox is no stranger to great racing games. Leading the pack are Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport, two excellent series amplified by a dedicated racing wheel controller. 

For racing on Xbox, Thrustmaster’s TMX Force Feedback racing wheel is the best overall package, delivering on immersion, quality, performance, and affordability. It comes with the titular 11-inch racing wheel and a two pedal floor box. The wheel is filled to the brim with features, like immersive force-feedback, 900 degrees of rotation, rubberized trim, tons of front-facing buttons, and left and right side paddle shifters. 

The pedals, while simpler, are serviceable, and adjustable with an included rubber stopper. The entire package is USB plug-and-play, and makes immersive driving incredibly attainable for any Xbox gamer.

  • Immersive wheel feedback and rotation
  • Ample buttons, both universal and Xbox-specific
  • Poor Thrustmaster customer support

Harry RabinowitzHarry Rabinowitz is a writer, editor, and columnist covering the latest and greatest products in the gaming industry.

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Xbox Wireless Controller

*Compatible with select devices and operating system versions; learn more at Battery life varies significantly with headsets, additional accessories, usage, and other factors. Testing conducted by Microsoft using standard AA batteries in preproduction units. Button mapping available via Xbox Accessories app for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows 10/11; app for Windows 10/11 requires compatible USB-C cable (sold separately).

**Prices may vary

*** 14-day Xbox Game Pass Ultimate trial: Not valid for current Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Live Gold members and previous trial users; redeem by 3/31/2022. Game catalogue varies over time ( Digital Direct: Game and membership are delivered directly to your console during set-up; no codes required. All included digital content will be attached to the first Microsoft Account that redeems it.

**** Battery life varies significantly with headsets, additional accessories, usage, and other factors. Testing conducted by Microsoft using preproduction units.


Microsoft is celebrating the 20th birthday of Xbox with a couple of new, translucent accessories, including a wireless controller and a wired gaming headset. They’ll launch on November 15th, 2021 — marking 20 years to the day — and preorders are available now.

Starting with the controller, Microsoft says its translucent look is a callback to the see-through controllers that shipped with the original Xbox debug kits. There are splashes of the brand’s signature green on the Xbox home button, as well as around the D-pad and rear grips. Microsoft colored the components silver so they’d be easier to see through its casing. Internally, though, it’s the same model as the one that ships with the Series S and Series X consoles, with Bluetooth support for connecting to mobile devices and PCs. This controller costs $69.99 to preorder through the Microsoft Store, as well as Amazon.

The wired Xbox stereo headset is also getting the translucent treatment, but on a smaller level. Its ear cups are see-through, with a green 20th anniversary marking on the left ear cup. There are also bright green accents on the grilles between the ear pads and cups, as well as on the microphone. This special-edition headset will cost $69.99 from the Microsoft Store and Amazon, as well, which is $10 over the standard model’s pricing. You can read more about this model (sans the cool 20th anniversary design) in our previous coverage here.


Controllers xbox



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