The FTC vs Microsoft-initiated Day of Leakage continues with details of forthcoming Xbox peripherals, amongst them a grey-and-white "Sebile" controller offering all manner of haptic and motion-sensitivity-based wonderment. Hah, the only thing it doesn't let you do is commune with the dead! Actually, there are a few other things it doesn't let you do, but let's stick to the positives for the moment.
A "Roadmap to 2030" doc from May 2022, flushed out by the Verge, shares details of several new Microsoft controller projects - a Switch-style "mobile controller" with joypads that slot onto a phone, and the more concrete, fully designed-up "Sebile" model. If our intel is sound, this latter gizmo will accompany a mid-gen Xbox Series X refresh in 2024, and boasts "Direct-to-Cloud", Bluetooth 5.2 and "Xbox Wireless 2" functionality.
The Sebile controller will also offer "quieter buttons and thumbsticks", for the apparently vast number of you who are driven berserk by soft clicking noises, a rechargeable and swappable battery, modular thumbsticks, more precise haptic feedback, haptics that double as controller speakers, and a self-explanatory "lift to wake" feature. Speaking as the owner of several brutally murdered Xbox 360 controllers, I would also go for a "throw to stow" feature that switches the console off in self-defence when you hurl the pad across the room in fury because, I don't know, Microsoft bought Nintendo, or something.
One slide from the "roadmap to 2030" presentation spells out the centrality of controllers at large to Microsoft's plans, and especially its Game Pass business. "Controller becomes the hero," it declares, explaining that "the new Xbox controller is the only thing you need to play on every device. This low barrier to entry will fuel subscriber growth." It's perhaps worth considering that in the context of Microsoft's reported plans for a new "hybrid" cloud gaming platform in 2028, which will make use of a lightweight OS to run cloud games on cheaper, "consumer and handheld" devices.