Microsoft has given insight into different prototypes of the new Xbox One controller including additions like built in screens and smell emitters.
On the eventual cost of R&D of the 360’esque controller, Xbox GM for accessories Zulfi Alam told VentureBeat
I don’t want to go into specifics, but it’s over $100 million for sure. Between the tooling of the device, the investments we made in process technology, and the engineering work that went into it, we invested a lot to get this thing right.
Prototype controllers included just about everything you could and wouldn’t think to add to a controller with screens, speakers, touch pads, cameras, embedded projector, and even smell-emitting functionality all being considered. However, all were dropped mainly due to concerns about battery life or because they weren’t appreciated by the core gamer focus testing.
Even the modest changes that Microsoft ended up with didn’t come cheap. The company spent millions on a new button-making technology to give the letters on the pad’s face buttons a bit of extra perceived depth to stand out more clearly for people. It also spent months trying to get the new guide button just right, balancing the brightness of the back light with different materials for the “X” logo, and weighing those results against battery consumption concerns.
The cost of the controllers R&D helped account for the report from Microsoft stating that R&D operating expenses hit $10.41 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30th 2013.