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When designing the Xbox One controller, Microsoft was going for a device that hardcore gamers would love, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t get a bit wacky with its early designs for the peripheral.

Xbox general manager for accessories Zulfi Alam told GamesBeat that Microsoft experimented with a few different gimmicks in a multipart interview regarding the new controller that we’re running all this week (read part 1). One of the most interesting was a Smell-O-Vision-style technology that would emit different odors.

“We had a whole bunch of brainstorm sessions and built hundreds of models,” Alam told GamesBeat. “We looked at concepts like adding displays to the controller. We looked at concepts like adding smell.”

The Xbox peripheral team used 3D printing and quick manufacturing techniques to actually build working models of a lot of these concepts. This iteration process enabled it to take something crazy — like a controller that makes different stinks –and turn it into a reality.


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“We built small slugs of different types of smells that could actually come out of a controller,” said Alam. “Like, as you walked through a jungle, you’d smell the flora.”

Or maybe as you walk into the bathroom in a bar in Grand Theft Auto, you would smell — well, you get the idea.

Sadly, Microsoft decided not to include the aroma-based tech in its final design, but an Xbox One controller with the scent-making ability does exist. It’s probably sitting deep within the bowels of Microsoft HQ right next to all those unsold first-generation Surface RTs and the Ark of the Covenant … I wonder what all that smells like.

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