Microsoft Underestimated Xbox Elite Controller Demand


The fact that people are clamoring to pay $150 for an Xbox Elite Controller is pretty outstanding.

If you’re like me and you own an Xbox One that came with a Kinect device packed in, you know what it’s like to own an expensive piece of hardware. Part of the reason why the PS4 is dominating the Xbox One in terms of sales so far into each consoles’ life cycles is because of the initial price barrier that came with the Xbox One, coming $100 more expensive to run games at overall lower frame rates and screen resolutions. That’s why it was thought that the Xbox Elite Controller, which debuted at E3 2015, was priced a bit too high for widespread consumer demand once it released this fall.

Microsoft saw it that way, as well, as it came out that the Xbox Elite Controller had been pretty much sold out everyone just over two weeks ago. Now we have confirmation from Microsoft chief marketing officer Chris Capossela on Geekwire, who said that initial feedback of the accessory changed how many of the controller Microsoft produced.

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“Here’s the product we totally underestimated,” Capossela concludes about the Xbox Elite Controller. “If I could have built 10 times the number I built, I would have. We got that feedback at E3 that it was awesome, but maybe the price was a little too high, and so that influenced how many we produced. On the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving, myself and Kevin Turner our COO, and the guy who runs our stores, David Porter, we go around and visit 30 or 40 different stores. Best Buy and GameStop and AT&T and Verizon and Microsoft Stores, just to see how things look, and the one thing we heard from everybody was, you needed to make way more of these controllers.”

That future output of the Xbox Elite Controller puts it into a weird in-between state of demand and pure sales. The wish that there were 10 times as many Xbox Elite controllers out in the wild right now suggests that the initial release was miniscule, with projections way less than what Microsoft initially thought. That said, people tend to spend most of their larger purchases during the holidays, when items are at their lowest prices and consumer demand is at its peak. Putting out 10 times the launch numbers of the Xbox Elite Controller in January would be harder to sell through than it would in November and December.