Back in the early days of the Xbox 360 and the PS3, both Microsoft and Sony offered special remote controls for their systems. Since this was the first time that systems were really built to be media centers instead of say, DVD or CD players as an afterthought, these remotes were a great way to both advertise media center functionality, and to allow people to control their console's media functions easily, instead of fiddling around with the buttons and analog sticks of a gaming controller.
But we aren’t seeing a lot of these remotes come out for our next-gen consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One, for a number of reasons. First of all, both consoles can be controlled by voice and motion commands. Second of all both systems can be controlled by connecting to a mobile device. Third of all, both controllers are easier to use, especially for media functions. Fourth of all, both consoles have the ability to connect to, say, a USB keyboard and be controlled like a PC, to varying degrees.
But regardless, it appears as if a media remote is coming for the Xbox One, if we can believe an Amazon leak. Spotted on Amazon’s Canadian website, the remote was retailing for $24.99 in Canadian currency, which is more like 22.50 in U.S. dollars. It was slated to release on March 4th and it seemed to be able to switch apps, control media, and easily navigate the Xbox One’s menus. That being said, it’s a very barebones remote, with just a few arrows, play controls, volume sliders and the like. It wouldn’t do well as a TV remote at all, even though it seems to have both channel and volume buttons. Other controls on the Xbox One remote include a home button, a mute button, what appears to be a picture in picture button, a menu button, and that’s about it. It’s the bare minimum needed to navigate menus and control media.
Currently Microsoft is not commenting on the leak. However, they certainly have been pushing their own brand of accessories for some time. Recently we reported on a new Microsoft brand of Microsoft headset converters that allow you to use your own, existing, gaming headsets with the Xbox One. Heck, these converters are even going to be needed with Microsoft branded gaming headsets. They are actually selling a bundle that includes both.
So it doesn’t seem that far out there for Microsoft to also create a gaming remote control. The real question is, who Is going to use it? Does it really get any easier than saying “Xbox, play the latest episode of Archer?” Of course, some people don’t want to use voice controls, but if that’s the case is this minimalist control really any better than the Xbox One controller? If it is, is it worth twenty five dollars?
Will you be picking up an Xbox One remote? Do you even use your Xbox One as a media center? Let us know in the comments.
Senior Contributing Writer