Titanfall’s limited edition controller calls back to the early days of Xbox 360 customization
Last week, we saw the brand new Titanfall controller for Xbox One. It’s absolutely gorgeous and demands attention alongside the console. Savvy Xbox owners will recognize, however, that this isn’t the first time Microsoft has promoted uniqueness with their hardware. The Xbox 360 itself saw a long line of limited editions, whether it’s the red Gears of War console and controller or the special Halo edition consoles and controllers.
The customization goes further back than that. We can recall back to the lead up before the 360 made it debut. One of the features was the system’s faceplate. It was detachable and it had been planned to receive various versions. It was going to be a console customized to your tastes, a system that revolves around you; that was one of the plans for the Xbox 360.
Sadly, all I personally have to show for this customization is a faceplate for The Outfit. If you can actually remember that game then, well, I admire you. But let’s not focus on some obscure game. Instead, let’s focus on what this would have meant. Custom consoles and hardware isn’t exactly new. Nintendo has been known for releasing hundreds of variations of their handhelds, whether it’s the seemingly countless versions of a GameBoy Advance SP or the various iterations of the DS systems in the wild. While others have hinted at embracing custom consoles, only Microsoft had the footprints in place to match what Nintendo is doing.
Furthermore, Microsoft’s plan would have been incredibly cost effective. Normally, if you want that fancy paint job, you’d either have to do it yourself (and know what you’re doing) or buy the new hardware at a premium. The prices of faceplates were significantly cheaper. Your console would stand out amongst your display set up. Bring the 360 to a friends house who also has one? There'd be no confusing as to who owns which system. Sadly, those plans never really came to fruition and everyone had the same white console until various other editions (black Elite, Halo special editions) started appearing.
Still, Titanfall’s controller brings hope for personalization. If anything, it’s to help make our controllers stand out from the simple “black” or “white” colors. Wii U owners are enjoying their special edition Mario and Luigi Wii-motes. Why can’t PS4 or Xbox One owners get in on the action?