Controllers of the future | Razer Insider

Controllers of the future

  • 29 March 2022
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Dear Razer, community and all other people in the game controller branch,

we must talk! There are 3 aspects which need improvements.


XInput

The XInput controller interface, created by Microsoft, has set the standard for controllers.

Unfortunately, XInput is very limited. It contains just the buttons, triggers and sticks from a current standard controller. That's a problem for every controller with additional buttons (especially for the most Razer controllers), because players can't use the additional buttons as native buttons, but just as mapped buttons.

This means, that every controller with additional buttons need a mapping function, which - I think - is one reason for the high price. But mapping means that you have a function twice on your controller. The primary aspect is to relieve the right thumb. The secondary aspect is to use not-needed buttons to have a more native usage (in my case 2 D-Pad buttons). But finally, you always has to make compromises.

btw: The predecessor of XInput was DInput, which allowed more than 100 buttons etc., but it was less comfortable for the programmers. Controllers don't needed a mapping function, because all buttons was for native use.

Now, we have the 3rd console era of XInput, but it never was expanded and nobody made other (own) solutions.
@Razer: As a partner of Microsoft, maybe you can convice them to expand XInput, especially of self interest. An alternative, at least for PC players, could be a mapping to keys from the keyboard.


Buttons per finger and amount of active fingers

Question: How many active fingers do you need to use a controller?
If we trust Microsoft & Co., the answer is 4: The thumbs control 4 buttons (or d-pad) and a stick (incl. its button). The index fingers control the bumper (shoulder button) and trigger. The other fingers are not needed.

Question: Does this sound right to have an optimal control in (advanced) games?
No! To use just 4 fingers sounds for me like players would be overstrained if they had to use more fingers. It's a relict of the 80s/90s, where controllers had just less buttons.
Side fact: PC players, playing with KB+M, use 7+ fingers, and this since DOS times.

Many players play intuitive with 6 fingers: Index fingers on bumpers and middle fingers on triggers. Razer controllers also are made for this, but not the Microsoft One/Series Controllers, because the bumpers are just pressable at the outside (very uncomfortable for the solo usage by the index finger) and they have a harder pressure point, which degrades them to a passive button.

Back to the first question: Do you noticed how many "work" the thumb has? That's very absurd. It would be much more comfortable if the other fingers have more "to do" and the thumb can be relieved. The action buttons should be controlled by the fingers, so that the thumb can focus on the sticks/D-Pad.

That's the reason why I use Razer controllers, because I use the buttons on the back/bottom as action buttons. In Rocket League, I play with 8 fingers. This game also is a good example why a standard controller has not enough native buttons. You must be a thumb acrobat to use all main functions on a standard controller, but I'm not a thumb acrobat, so I use a controller with additional buttons, where the functions are better separated to different fingers ... which btw would be easier for beginners.

Unfortunately, the current controllers are not so comfortable. I currently use the Wolverine V2 Chroma, where I had to change my hand position to be able to reach the first bottom button with my ring finger (while index finger on M1/2 and ring finger on the trigger). This position was a little bit painful at the beginning (I've not big hands).
@Razer Please rethink the whole controller layout, so that players can comfortable play with the 8-fingers. This means especially the bottom buttons/paddles (middle is good, but it must be near) and the triggers (must be wider), but also the general arrangement (for a comfortable hand position).


modularity (spare parts)

When playing games like Rocket League, the buttons etc. experience a heavy wear (more than in other games). The (semi-)mechanical buttons stay a long time (much more longer than rubberdome buttons), but some day they also are worn. It's sad to buy a new controller just because one button is worn.

It would be really helpful to have a full modularity for every button, stick and trigger. This should be the long-term target.
An alternative is to have an easier possibility to change certain parts (incl. an easier way to open the controller) and basically to be able to buy these parts.

The modularity also is a way to be more green ...
For sure, the modularity increase the price, but it's worth it.

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