Microsoft’s premium controller is seeing a surge leading into the gift-giving holidays.
The Xbox One Elite Controller saw its sales in November increase by almost half in a year-over-year comparison, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. The Elite Controller debuted in October 2015, and it sells for $150. Microsoft justifies that price by using high-quality components and including a variety of exchangeable parts and a carrying case. Controllers are a significant chunk of the game-accessory market that generated $259.8 million last month.
“Sales of the Microsoft Xbox Elite Wireless Controller grew 46 percent in November versus the prior year,” NPD analyst Sam Naji said in a statement.
In my review, I called the Xbox One Elite Controller the best gamepad I’ve ever used, and this is still true. Although, Microsoft’s Xbox One S controller revision, which debuted in October 2016, closes the gap in the $60 model.
Of course, even while the Elite is seeing a surge in sales, it’s still not the top-selling gamepad on the market. More people own PlayStation 4s than Xbox Ones, and that means Sony has a bigger consumer base looking to purchase its controller.
“The Sony DualShock 4 was the month’s No.1 selling gamepad overall,” said Naji.
Overall, however, controller sales are down, according to NPD. That’s likely due to a decline in spending on consoles, which suggests that more cost-conscious consumers are entering the current generation. And the customer that waited to spend $250-to-$300 on a system in 2016 is potentially less likely to purchase a second gamepad with their new console than the gamer that spent $300-to-$350 on a PS4 or Xbox One in 2015.
That also likely explains why the Elite is surging. Many core gamers already purchased their consoles, so this year they are spending their gaming budget on other items — like a $150 controller — instead.