Xbox 360 controller

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Xbox 360 controller
Black Xbox 360 S wireless controller
A wireless black Xbox 360 S controller
TypeVideo game controller
GenerationSeventh generation
Release date
November 22, 2005
    • NA: November 22, 2005
    • EU: December 2, 2005
    • JP: December 10, 2005
    • MEX/COL: February 2, 2006
    • KOR: February 24, 2006
    • HKG/SGP/TWN: March 16, 2006
    • AU: March 23, 2006
    • CHL: July 7, 2006
    • IND: September 25, 2006
    • ZAF: September 29, 2006
    • CZE/POL: November 3, 2006
    • BRA: December 1, 2006
    • RU: February 10, 2007
    • PER: February 26, 2008
    • ARE: October 28, 2008
    • SYC: Spring 2010
  • 2 × clickable analog sticks Left analog stick press Right analog stick press
  • 2 × analog triggers Left shoulder trigger Right shoulder trigger
  • 2 × shoulder buttons Left Bumper Right Bumper
  • 4 × action buttons A B X Y
  • 3 × other buttons Back Start (wireless)
  • Digital D-Pad
ConnectivityWireless (proprietary 2.4 GHz protocol), USB, 2.5 mm headset jack
PowerNickel-metal hydride battery; 2 × AA; USB host powered
  • Wireless version:[1]
    154 mm × 105 mm × 61.3 mm (6.06 in × 4.13 in × 2.41 in)
  • Wired version:[2]
    152 mm × 107 mm × 54.0 mm (5.98 in × 4.21 in × 2.13 in)
    (cable 3.0 m, 9 ft 10 in)
  • Wireless version (with batteries):[1]
    265 g (9.35 oz)
  • Wired version:[2]
    300 g (10.6 oz)
PredecessorXbox controller
SuccessorXbox Wireless Controller

The Xbox 360 controller is the primary game controller for Microsoft's Xbox 360 home video game console that was introduced at E3 2005.[3] The Xbox 360 controller comes in both wired and wireless versions.[4] The Xbox controller is not compatible with the Xbox 360. The wired and wireless versions are also compatible with Microsoft PC operating systems, such as Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

The wireless controllers run on either AA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack. The wired controllers may be connected to any of the USB ports on the console, or to an attached USB hub.


The Xbox 360 controller has the same basic familiar button layout as the Controller S except that a few of the auxiliary buttons have been moved. The "back" and "start" buttons have been moved to a more central position on the face of the controller, and the "white" and "black" buttons have been removed and replaced with two new bumpers that are positioned over the analog triggers on the back of the controller. The controller has a 2.5 mm TRS connector on the front, allowing users to connect a headset for voice communication.[5] It also features a proprietary serial connector [6] (which is split into 2 parts on either side of the headset connector) for use with additional accessories, such as the chatpad.

On August 31, 2010, Microsoft's Larry Hryb (a.k.a. Major Nelson) revealed a new design of the Xbox 360 controller set to replace the Wireless controller bundled with the Play & Charge Kit. Among small changes such as the shape of the analog stick tops and grey-colored face buttons, the new controller features an adjustable directional pad which can be changed between a disc type D-pad or a plus shaped D-pad. The control pad was released in North America exclusively with Play & Charge Kits on November 9, 2010 and was released in Europe during February 2011.[7]

The Xbox 360 controller provides a standard USB Human interface device software interface, but is designed for the Microsoft XInput interface library.[8] Although many PC video games support the XInput library, some games might not work with this controller.


A standard Xbox 360 controller features eleven digital buttons, two analog triggers, two analog sticks, and a digital D-pad. The right face of the controller features four digital action buttons: a green A button, red B button, blue X button, and yellow Y button. The lower right houses the right analog stick, in lower left is a digital D-pad and on the left face is the left analog stick. Both analog sticks can also be clicked in to activate a digital button beneath. In the center of the controller face are digital "Start", "Back" and "Guide" buttons. The "Guide" button is labelled with the Xbox logo, and is used to turn on the console/controller and to access the guide menu. It is also surrounded by the "ring of light", which indicates the controller number, as well as flashing when connecting and to provide notifications. The left and right "shoulders" each feature a digital shoulder button, or "bumper", and an analog trigger.

Wireless controllers also feature an additional "connect" button located between the "bumpers" to facilitate syncing with the console.

Button layout of a wireless Xbox 360 controller

Standard colors[edit]

Wired controllers are available in white and black (Xbox 360 S color scheme) along with the limited edition TRON controllers.[9] However, wireless controllers are available in numerous different colors including:

  • White controllers were bundled with the Arcade and Pro consoles; also sold separately.
  • Black controllers came with the Elite to match the case; also sold separately. (UPC/EAN 0885370145717, 885370239393)
  • Dark Blue controllers were released in October 2007 (US only)
  • Light Blue controllers were released in October 2007 (Europe and Japan only)
  • Pink controllers were also released in October 2007.
  • Black S and White S controllers are bundled with Xbox 360 S consoles. These differ from their original counterparts in that they are completely one color, rather than with grey accents. The guide button has a mirror like finish, and the analog sticks and D-pad are color matched. The bottom edge of this controller also features a gloss finish to match the Xbox 360 S 250 GB case design. "S" controllers also replace the Microsoft branding above the charging port with an Xbox 360 wordmark.

Limited and special edition colors[edit]

Limited Edition Halo 3 "Spartan" controller
  • Halo 3
    • "Spartan Green" controllers were included with the Halo 3 Special Edition Xbox 360 systems released in September 2007.
    • "Limited Edition" "Spartan"[10] and "Brute"[11] controllers were released in September 2007. Two versions were available, each of which feature Halo 3-themed artwork (with either a "Spartan" or "Brute" design) from artist Todd McFarlane. Each version of the controller also included a Master Chief figurine (a different figure was included with each version).
  • Red "Limited Edition" controllers were released in September 2008. The controller features 'black accents' with the D-Pad, analog sticks, triggers and parts of the casing all changed to black instead to the usual gray. It comes bundled with a Play & Charge Kit with a red rechargeable battery pack. The red controller is also included with the Limited Edition Resident Evil Xbox 360 Elite console released in March 2009.
  • Green "Limited Edition" controllers were released in mid October 2008 in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The green controller has a direction pad with 16-way functionality, instead of the 8-way direction pad used on all previous controllers.[12] This controller was released alongside Pro Evolution Soccer 2009.
  • Dragon Design "Limited Edition" White and Black controllers were released in October 2008 and are available only through Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.[13] The controller features a black dragon (and other symbols) on a white background, along with a white D-pad and black analog sticks. It comes bundled with a black wired headset.
    Special Edition Halo 3: ODST controller
  • Halo 3: ODST "Special Edition" controllers were released in September 2009 in a "Collector's Pack" including the Halo 3: ODST game. The pack was originally exclusive to GameStop and retailed for US$99.99 in North America.[14]
  • Radioactive Design "Exclusive" controllers were released in October 2009 and were available exclusively at GameStop, or (in Australia) at EB Games. The design features a carbon black pad with a red radiation symbol emanating from the right analog stick. The left analog stick is black and the right analog stick and D-pad are red. This controller was announced at Major Nelson's website[15] and is said to be limited edition although the packaging makes no reference to this. It comes bundled with a Play & Charge Kit with a black rechargeable battery pack.
  • Halo: Reach "Special Edition" controllers were released on September 14, 2010, coinciding with the game's release. The controller is based around the Black S design (black analog sticks, d-pad, battery pack, etc.; glossy black front; shiny guide button) with the matte black shell replaced with a satin silver shell, which also features a custom design based on the game. It was available separately and with the Halo: Reach Special Edition console bundle, which came bundled with two of the controllers.[16]
  • Fable III "Special Edition" controllers were released on October 5, 2010, 3 weeks before the release of Fable III itself. The controller is based around the Black S design (black analog sticks, d-pad etc.; glossy black front; shiny guide button) and features a custom gold-colored shell and artwork. It also comes bundled with an exclusive downloadable tattoo set for use within the game.[17]
  • TRON controllers were created by PDP and released in December 2010 to coincide with the film TRON: Legacy. The controllers were offered in two limited edition variations—one with blue LED illumination (20,000 units made) and the other with orange LED illumination (250 units made). Both versions are wired and feature textured grips and a raised, 4-way d-pad.[18][19]
  • Blue controllers were released in a bundle with Call of Duty: Ghosts and Call of Duty: Black Ops II and a 500 GB Blue Xbox 360 and both the console and the controller had Arctic Blue accents and was released on October 7, 2014, exclusively at Walmart for a limited time.

Transforming d-pad controllers[edit]

Transforming d-pad special edition controller in "8-way" configuration. The d-pad in "4-way" configuration is shown in the bottom right corner.
  • Transforming D-pad "special edition" controllers were released in the US on November 9, 2010 and in Europe during February 2011.[20] The main feature of this controller is a D-pad that can be rotated to adapt to the user's gameplay, becoming either a "plus" (4-way) or a "disk" (8-way) d-pad. The controller also features new concave analog stick tops and grey tone face buttons (A, B, X and Y). The main shell of the controller is matte silver, with gloss black accents (triggers, bumpers and both front and rear panels) like the "Black S" design and a matte black battery pack. This controller comes bundled with a (matte) black improved Play & Charge Kit, offering up to 35 hours of play.[21] The codename for the controller during development was "Aberdeen".[22]
  • Gears of War 3 "Limited Collector's Edition" controllers were released on September 20, 2011 to coincide with the launch of Gears of War 3. The controllers are metallic red with a black "Infected Omen" symbol and feature a transforming d-pad. Unlike the "Transforming D-Pad" Special Edition controller, the Gears of War 3 LCE controller features the standard colored face buttons and analog stick tops found on other controllers.[23]
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 "Limited Edition" controllers were released on November 8, 2011, in North America, Australasia and the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region. It features custom Modern Warfare 3 artwork (predominantly matte grey), a transforming d-pad and the same concave analog stick tops found on the original transforming d-pad controller. All (non-face) buttons, as well as the analog sticks, are black.[24]
  • Star Wars C-3PO "Limited Edition" controllers were released in April 2012 as part of a limited edition Star Wars console bundle.[25] The controller is mirrored gold and black, and features a transforming D-pad.[25] The black panel at the front of the controller also features "wiring" artwork, resembling the parts of C-3PO that are not covered in gold plating in the original Star Wars films.[25]
  • Chrome Series "Special Edition" controllers were released in May 2012.[26] The chrome series controllers are available in six colors: Blue, Red, Silver, Gold, Black and Purple.[26] These controllers feature standard colored face buttons.[26]
  • Halo 4 "Limited Edition" controllers were released in November 2012.[27] Two different controllers are available:
    • Halo 4 branded "Limited Edition" 'exclusive controllers inspired by the game' came bundled with the Limited Edition Halo 4 console; two were included. These feature a glowing blue Xbox guide button instead of the traditional green glow.[27]
    • UNSC Halo 4 "Limited Edition" controllers were released in November 2012. These feature the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) emblem on a dark grey translucent case, and also feature the glowing blue Xbox Guide button.[27]
  • Black S controllers with a transforming D-pad, concave analog sticks and bundled with a play and charge kit were released in October 2012.[28]
  • Tomb Raider "Limited Edition" controllers were released in early March 2013 to complement the launch of Tomb Raider. They are red and feature a two layer color finish with laser etching to create a realistic and tactile worn appearance inspired by Lara's climbing axe from the game. The controllers also come bundled with a downloadable token for an Xbox-360-exclusive playable Tomb Raider character.[29]

Non-retail colors[edit]

Wireless controller bundled with the "Launch Team Edition" Xbox 360
  • Launch Team Edition controllers were bundled with the "Xbox 360 – Launch Team Edition", given exclusively to members of the Xbox launch team by Microsoft in November 2005. These white wireless controllers feature green accents at the front in place of the standard grey.[30]
  • Yellow controllers were included with the 100 Limited Edition The Simpsons Movie Xbox 360 systems announced in May 2007, and given away as prizes in special events and promotions.[31]
  • Orange coloured LIVE TURNS FIVE controllers were released in November 2007, and were given away to selected members of the media.[32]

Guide button[edit]

The Xbox 360 controller has a guide button in the center of its face that provides a new functionality. This button is surrounded by a ring of lights divided into four quadrants that provide gamers with different types of information during game play. For instance, during a split screen multiplayer match, a particular quadrant will light up to indicate to a player which part of the screen they are playing on at that time. In this case, when the user pushes the button, they access the Xbox guide; a menu which provides access to features like messaging friends, downloading content, voice chat and customizing soundtracks, while staying in the game. The Guide button also allows users to turn off the controller or the console by holding the button for a few seconds (rather than simply pressing it).


Play and Charge Kit[edit]

Battery Pack, Play and Charge Cable and Quick Charger

The Rechargeable Battery Pack is a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack, which provides up to 24 hours of continuous gaming for the wireless controller. It is recommended[by whom?] in place of disposable AA batteries, which differ slightly in voltage and have higher disposal costs (financial and environmental). It ships as part of, and can be charged by, the Play & Charge Kit and the Quick Charge Kit. To fully charge the battery pack takes approximately 2 hours with the Quick Charge Kit; the Play & Charge Kit takes longer (and depends on whether the controller is being used). An upgraded, 35-hour version is included with "transforming D-pad" controllers.

Wireless Gaming Receiver[edit]

The Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows

The Wireless Gaming Receiver (sold as "Crossfire Wireless Gaming Receiver" in the UK) allows wireless Xbox 360 accessories, such as wireless gamepads, racing wheels and headsets, to be used on a Windows-based PC.[33] The device acts in a similar manner to an Xbox 360, allowing up to 4 controllers and 4 headsets at a time to be connected to the receiver. The device has a 30-foot (10 meter) range and a six-foot (2 meter) USB cable.[34] It is specifically designed to work with games bearing the "Games for Windows" logo, but will function with most games that permit a standard PC gamepad. The official Xbox website noted that the adapter will work with "all future wireless devices".[35]

Messenger Kit[edit]

Xbox 360 Chatpad from the Messenger Kit attached to a wireless controller

The Messenger Kit consists of a wired Xbox 360 headset and a small keyboard known as the "Chatpad". The Chatpad connects to the front of the controller and may be used for any standard text input on the console. It is not currently compatible with the wireless gaming receiver.

Non-gaming uses[edit]

The United States Navy has announced that it plans to use Xbox 360 controllers to control periscopes on new Virginia-class submarines, for both cost and familiarity reasons.[36]


The Xbox 360 controller received positive reviews when it was released. Before then, as IGN stated, the original Xbox controller was "huge, ugly, cheap, and uncomfortable" and concluded to be an "abomination". Many of these problems were corrected with Microsoft's releases of the Xbox controller S and then the Xbox 360 controller. IGN credited the Xbox 360 controller for its being one of "the most ergonomically comfortable console controllers around". It was also praised for its improved button placement, its functioning logo as a button, and Microsoft's choice of bottom-mounting headset ports as opposed to top-mounting them so as to minimize snagged wire problems.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows Technical Data Sheet" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 16, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Xbox 360 Controller for Windows Technical Data Sheet" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 22, 2013.
  3. ^ Roper, Chris (May 18, 2005). "E3 2005: Xbox 360 Controller Hands-On". IGN. Ziff Davis Media. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  4. ^ "Xbox 360 wired and wireless controllers". Xbox Support. Microsoft. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  5. ^ "Xbox 360 Wireless Controller -". Microsoft. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  6. ^ "Microsoft® Xbox 360™ Controller for Windows® Version Information" (PDF). Microsoft. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 22, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
  7. ^ Fahey, Mike (2010-08-31). "Microsoft Reveals New 360 Controller With Transforming D-Pad". Kotaku. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
  8. ^ "XInput and DirectInput". Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  9. ^ "Xbox 360 Controller -". Microsoft. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  10. ^ " | Accessories - Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Controllers". Archived from the original on September 9, 2008. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  11. ^ " | Accessories - Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Controllers". Archived from the original on September 9, 2008. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  12. ^ "Xbox 360 limited-edition green wireless controller hands on". Archived from the original on November 25, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
  13. ^ "Dragon themed 360 controller a Walmart exclusive". Retrieved 2009-10-30.
  14. ^ "Halo 3 ODST Wireless Controller is GameStop Exclusive". Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  15. ^ "Limited Edition Xbox 360 Wireless Controller and Play and Charge kit". Retrieved 2009-10-29.
  16. ^ "Halo Reach Xbox 360 bundle available September 14 for $399". Joystiq. 2010-07-22. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
  17. ^ "Fable III's special edition Xbox 360 controller, morally ambiguous and gold". Engadget. 2010-08-14. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
  18. ^ Lowe, Scott (2010-12-13). "Tron Controllers Review". IGN. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  19. ^ "Xbox 360 gets a limited edition orange Tron controller, because wired gamers need love too". Engadget. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  20. ^ "New Xbox 360 Wireless controller featuring a transforming D-Pad". Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  21. ^ " Wireless Controller with Transforming D-Pad and Play and Charge Kit". Archived from the original on October 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  22. ^ "Joystiq: Hands-on with the new Xbox 360 controller with transforming D-pad : Video". Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  23. ^ "Gears 3 LCE Console and Controller Announced". Microsoft. June 7, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  24. ^ "Xbox Live's Major Nelson » Xbox 360 Limited Edition Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Console, Wireless Headset with Bluetooth and Wireless Controller". Microsoft. September 2, 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  25. ^ a b c "Xbox Live's Major Nelson » Limited Edition Star Wars Console". Microsoft. July 21, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  26. ^ a b c "Announcing the Xbox 360 Special Edition Chrome Series Wireless Controllers". 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  27. ^ a b c "Xbox 360 Limited Edition 'Halo 4' Console Bundle & Accessories Revealed at San Diego Comic-Con". 2012-07-14. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
  28. ^ "Wireless Controller with Transforming D-Pad and Play and Charge Kit". Archived from the original on June 22, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
  29. ^ "Xbox 360 Tomb Raider Limited Edition Wireless Controller". Microsoft. Archived from the original on February 6, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  30. ^ "Xbox 360 Launch Team Gift". Archived from the original on September 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
  31. ^ "Limited edition Simpsons Xbox 360". Retrieved 2009-10-30.
  32. ^ "LIVE Turns 5 Orange Controllers". Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
  33. ^ "May 2006: Microsoft Press Release regarding coming year". Retrieved 2006-12-01.
  34. ^ "Official Accessory Page". Archived from the original on 2006-11-04. Retrieved 2006-12-01.
  35. ^ " | Accessories - Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows". Archived from the original on 2008-08-22.
  36. ^ The Associated Press (September 18, 2017). "Navy plans to use Xbox controllers for new periscope systems". The Navy Times. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  37. ^ Gerry Block (1 December 2005). "Xbox Controller 360 Review". IGN. Retrieved 28 September 2015.