Quite a bit of importance is placed on peripherals. Which makes sense. When you have a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, you’re going to be using hardware and accessories quite a bit. A game may last upwards of 50 hours, but the controller you’re using to play it will be with you for years, if not the entire lifespan of your system. Knowing how it will be with you through thick and thin, you might start wondering if the standard Xbox One Wireless Controller or PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 is enough for you. With all this talk about Elites, do you need to upgrade?
The short answer is no.
This isn’t to say that the Elite controller options offered for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One aren’t amazing pieces of hardware. Or that they aren’t worth their $150 asking prices. Rather, it’s about the needs of someone who is an ordinary gamer versus one who is playing competitively. These controllers have very specific audiences and, while someone who is investing a lot of time in specific games might get some use out of it, they’re really best used by people who are getting far more competitive.
For example, many of these Elite PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers have additional triggers and buttons. These extra inputs are there for people who competitively play games like Call of Duty, Halo, Overwatch, Smite, Rainbow Six Siege, or even a game like Madden. People need these extra buttons to help save precious seconds when they’re in a match, to ensure they’re performing at an optimal level. The same applies to the additional profiles each Elite controller allows. They’re for people who might be trying to play specific games for a living. The rest of us, perhaps getting in one to two hours of Call of Duty or Overwatch a night, aren’t exactly on that level. The games themselves already have rather intuitive and streamlined interfaces and inputs. Elite options kick it up a notch.
The design is also one better geared toward people who are going to be sitting at their console for hours every day. Things like internal compartments with additional weights, analog stick caps and thumbsticks that can be swapped, and extra triggers don’t mean as much to people who aren’t playing for over three hours, maybe more, each night. These are features for folks who spend so much time with their controller, it becomes a part of who they are. While getting a comfortable controller is important, it’s possible to find third party, standard PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers that offer enough variation and deviation to avoid an additional $100 spent on a peripheral.
Even the way they arrive shows who these Elite controllers are meant for. Each one of these special peripherals tends to come with things that help you take it with you anywhere, perhaps for tournaments or special events. They may come with carrying cases. They’ll definitely include braided cables. Such things are all designed with durability in mind. While all of us can appreciate a slightly stronger than usual controller, it isn’t necessary for most of us. The standard Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers are durable enough for our needs.
It’s great that PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Elite controllers exist. There are people who do need these sorts of peripherals. It’s a wise investment for them. But for the rest of us, we can get by with the standard equipment. While I’m sure people would be impressed if you paid $150 for a controller, odds are you’d be just fine with a standard $60 model. There’s no need to keep up with the Joneses in gaming.