Xbox One controller prototypes included scent emitters

Recent changes in the Xbox One console's design direction are nothing compared to early prototypes, which included interactive scents

14 Aug 2013
Xbox One

Microsoft's Xbox One may be going through a few feature tweaks at present, but that's nothing compared to its development process which saw the company experiment with a scent-emitting controller.

Since a poor reception for Microsoft's next-generation console at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) earlier this year, the company has been rapidly revising its plans. While some revisions are minor - the boosting of the graphics card speed slightly, for example - others are fundamental: since its announcement, the console has had online DRM and restrictions on second-hand sales removed, and most recently has been modified so it will operate without the bundled Kinect sensor platform connected.

While these represent a considerable shift in Microsoft's plans for the platform, the company has revealed that the console has already been significantly toned down from its original vision - which included a scent-emitting controller with an integrated display.

Speaking to Kotaku, Microsoft's Zulfi Alam revealed that the originally-designed Xbox One controller was much more than an upgraded Xbox 360 pad. Originally, he explains, the Xbox One controller had an integrated speaker, an embedded display screen, and a system for releasing smells into the room.

"Essentially you can have a couple of predefined cartridges like gunpowder, burning rubber, smoke, flowers," Alam told the site. "For example, a core scenario could be, 'Hey, I'm walking through a forest. As I'm walking through a forest, I'll smell foliage.' We can have that scent predefined."

Sadly for those who want an extra level of immersion, the scent emitter never made it past the prototype stage - not due to the technology not working, however, but to it working a little too well, and leaving the scents hanging around the room after gameplay. Likewise, the screen was removed to conserve battery life and the speaker due to the low quality audio it emitted as a result of its size.

The Xbox One, with more sedate controller design, is due to launch in the UK later this year.

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