LOS ANGELES - Xbox controllers are some of the most widely used devices in gaming, but until now they've been rather drab, with the exception of a few special edition controllers. That monochromatic boredom is about to change thanks to Xbox Design Lab. Announced during E3 2016, this new initiative allows gamers with a bit of creative flair to create a custom controller for a more personal gaming experience. Available for $80 ($90 with engraving), the first batches of gamepads are scheduled to ship in September.
Designing your controller is a relatively quick and painless process as I learned at an Xbox One event. Once the website loaded, I started by selecting Photon Blue out of the 15 color choices for the body of the controller and went on to picking a matching color scheme for the remaining six components, including the D-pad and face buttons. According to Microsoft, Design Lab boasts up to eight million possible color combinations.
After you're finished designing your gaming masterpiece, you simply hit finish and save. From there, you can name your design and add laser engraving (up to 15 characters) or share your creation to your gallery. Next, click Order and enter your billing and shipping information and wait the 14-days it takes to ship your new custom controller. In case you're wondering, Xbox is offering free shipping.
While tricking out your traditional Xbox One gamepads is nice, it be even better if you could do the same with the wireless Elite controller. Since the device is already extremely customizable, it would only make sense to let gamers create custom versions of the Elite, right? However, the service is unavailable for the $150 peripheral. Instead, Xbox is working with Scuf Gaming to deliver the custom Elite controller you crave.
Design Lab is a great way to help gamers express their individual style inside and outside of their favorite titles. It's a little pricey compared to the traditional $59.99 controller, but I think this is a service that's been long overdue.