The Microsoft Xbox Elite 2 controller has been out for less than a year, and in that time, Microsoft has accumulated a pretty significant number of complaints from owners over issues of button function as well is stick drift issues. While Microsoft has generally played down the number controllers out in the world with issues, its been problematic enough that Microsoft is finally doing something about it. We learned this morning via the Verge of a support article that Microsoft posted to its Hardware & Networking page. The undated support notification reads “We’ve updated out limited warranty terms for the Xbox Wireless Controller Series 2. Click here to learn more.”
Many a Xbox owner who has run into technical issues with their official accessories can attest to the fact the Microsoft’s normal warranty stinks. For the record, Microsoft warranties consoles for 1 year after the date of purchase, and the normal warranty on accessories is 90 days. Though I didn’t post about it at the time, in April of this year, I ran afoul of Microsoft’s awful 90 day accessory warranty, which my Elite 2 controller, purchased in early January, had JUST run out of its warranty when, out of the blue, the controller started make a terrible noise whenever the force feedback motor on the left side would activate. It was quite disheartening to login to the MS support page, only to have the dreaded “your warranty has expired” message appear on the device.
Fortunately for me, after calling MS support and having a conversation with a very pleasant support rep, they agreed to cover my device as I was a “long-standing customer” (my account is 10+ years old) and they rewarded me for my “loyalty” seeing that the warranty was just days out. However, it did make me wonder at the time, what would have happened if I hadn’t had that loyalty advantage. Probably I would have been told, “sure you can send it in, and we will repair it for $50, $75″… or who knows how much. As I don’t particularly like spending extra money and have a decent level of technical ability, i’d have fixed it myself. If I hadn’t, I would have probably cracked the thing open and put some new double-sided adhesive in to hold the force feedback motor in place.
Bringing it back to today’s news, this is at least an olive branch for Elite 2 owners. In addition to extending the warranty to 1 year from the date of purchase, Microsoft also noted in the support piece : “If you incurred repair costs to service your Elite Series 2 controller, you’ll be issued a refund by Microsoft before October 31, 2020.” Another nice piece of messaging from Microsoft, considering the that repairs on the $180 controller can certainly get costly very quickly.
This, however, is only a stop-gap. According to a Windows Central article, the Elite 2 controller was recently added to a list of devices involved in class-action suites over a major design flaw in controller including other Xbox controllers, as well as Nintendo over its JoyCon controllers. In suits filed against Microsoft and Nintendo separately, drift issues with have been occurring for a large number of users, and the companies know of the issue and have failed to take action. It is fairly common knowledge, so much so with the JoyCon, many users view it as a matter of when, not if, their JoyCon will start to drift (see Jason attempt to fix one). It is alleged in the suits that a design flaw exists in the controllers’ potentiometers. These are the devices in the sticks that receive the users mechanical inputs that the controllers hardware and software interpret into electrical signals to register as movement in whatever software the user it interfacing with in game. The flaw in the design, the suits charge, is that a grease-like lubricant in the tracks of the potentiometer trap debris that wears off the tracks, and upon becoming contaminated, registers as unwanted movement.
So, the warranty extension may help many users for a less limited time, but it might be still very concerning to Elite 2 owners that have yet to have an issue in the manner that some of their controller brethren have had. No one has yet owned one of these for 1 year, but in that time, their have been plenty of complaints. For those users who bought the controllers at the time of release, during the 2019 holiday season (November 4th, 2019 to be exactly) they are playing with a ticking time-bomb as that one-year warrant end is quickly approaching.
If you ARE having issues with your Elite 2 controller, make sure you immediately visit Microsoft’s support page, make sure your device is registered, and file a warranty support request.
Have you experienced issues with your Elite 2 controller? Let us know what happened in the comments below!