In October 2019, Microsoft began trials for its cloud gaming streaming service, Project xCloud. The service, which runs games on remote servers, allows users to play those games without dedicated hardware.
Although xCloud will not run on a console, Microsoft has filed patents for new gaming controllers, leading some to believe that the company will imminently release new joypads to be used with non-Microsoft devices like iPads and smartphones.
Ahead of that potential release, the gaming fanatics at Yanko Design created their own xCloud controllers based on the Microsoft patents. Industrial designer Sarang Sheth brought the two-part design to life with a visual concept, and then gave 3ERP the exciting task of creating a physical prototype of the Xbox controller.
We were only too happy to oblige.
We fabricated the controller using a combination of CNC milling, CNC turning and vacuum casting — processes we considered suitable for the complexity, scale and unit quantity of the project.
The main body of the Xbox controller prototype, which comes in two halves so it can be clipped onto either side of a portable device, was CNC machined from ABS.
To achieve a professional-quality finish, we then sanded and painted the two parts, finally adding the logos and “XBOX CLOUD” text using silk-screen printing.
The controller is designed to be as ergonomic as possible, so the rear side of the controller features a rubberized backplate. For this section, we used the process of vacuum casting before adding aesthetic details using silk-screen printing.
Buttons and flippers
The buttons and flippers will function as the controller’s inputs, and for these small components we again turned to CNC machining. Unlike with the main body, we used a high-gloss paint for the buttons and flippers, resulting in an almost metallic finish.
For the flippers, we also added a grippy rubberlike coating by overmolding the plastic components with vacuum casting.
The Xbox controller concept incorporates charging pins. For these components, we used CNC turning to fabricate the rounded pins from brass.
We sent the finished prototype to Yanko Design not long after Sheth sent us his digital files, drawings and material requirements.
Just as we hoped, the designer was extremely happy with the physical version of his creation.
“The buttons feel exactly the way they should, and the joystick is as inviting as the real deal,” Sheth says on Yanko Design, adding that the controller looks and feels “like a product right off the shelf.”
It’s not the first home entertainment project we’ve completed at 3ERP, and it certainly won’t be the last. Get in touch for a fast quote on your prototype.