You can keep your console wars, I just want the pretty peripherals. Xbox keeps providing them with their latest controller color scheme, Stellar Shift, and I can’t help but wonder if Xbox looked at the space-themed PlayStation controllers from a few years back and went, “Yeahhhh, we can do that better.”
Shifting blues and purples meant to mimic the galaxy give the gamepad a real multifaceted moment—this baby will look different at every angle. It’s just like everything that was ever cool in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s: metallic, iridescent, and semi-futuristic. There’s also what looks like a slight grain in the finish, which is giving me Ice Blue Game Boy vibes, and a swirling purple pattern on the grip area that looks like a spiral galaxy. The face buttons are black and purple, naturally, though I wish the Xbox logo button was also on-brand (it’s just white).
The Stellar Shift controller is the next space-y peripheral in what seems to be an emerging pattern from Microsoft: late last year the company dropped the Lunar Shift controller, which has the exact same finishes and patterns as the Stellar Shift, but in silver and gold. It was, as the name suggests, giving moon realness. And from unboxing videos I watched, it really does catch the light beautifully. This thing is radiant, guys. I want to see an entire Xbox Series X made out of this material. Fuck it, I, want to be made out of this material.
Hilariously, PlayStation released explicitly space-themed colors for the DualSense in December 2021 alongside snap-on plastic covers for the PS5, but they were just flat, bright controllers in shades like Starlight Blue (baby blue) and Nova Pink (Pepto pink).
But despite its beauty, I must note that there is nothing mechanically special about the Stellar Shift or Lunar Shift Special Edition controllers. They’ll run you $70 ($10 more than your run-of-the-mill controller), and the only thing that could level up your gaming experience are the rubberized grips. Otherwise, it’s a typical wireless Xbox Series X/S controller—you can remap your buttons in the Xbox Accessories App, play with your console, PC, or mobile phone, and will inevitably have to replace its batteries every 30 or so hours.
Would I spend $10 extra for a pretty controller? *Looks over at my pile of custom Xbox controllers collecting dust* You bet your ass I would. I’m sorry, I know I said you could keep your console wars, but this little purple guy is absolutely blowing the DualSense out of the water. You can buy the Stellar Shift Special Edition controller right now.