Why Next Gen Rumble Actually Matters On The Xbox One

Rumble is a thing we take for granted. We take it for granted that it exists. That it works the way it has always worked. It’s familiar to the point where it almost feels like a dead feature. Rumble exists. We use it. Whatever. But Rumble on the Xbox One feels different to the point that it’s disorientating. To the point where it actually feels meaningful again.

Instead of using two rotors, the Xbox One controller uses four, and it makes a very big difference. The analogy that works best for me is surround sound. Stereo sound is good. It works. But there’s a limit to the sense of depth, to the sense of positioning that can be elicited from two speakers. When you have five or seven? You can add a real sense of place.

Two new rotors adds an extra dimension to rumble and, because it’s new, because it feels fresh, its affect is exponentially better. It’s difficult to explain, and it sounds like hyperbole, but it allows rumble to tell new stories. Before rumble was a heart beat. Hard or fast. A car accelerating. A bullet lodging itself into your body. Now rumble is the feeling of a helicopter engine starting, then the feeling of it moving into the distance. The feel of a car starting, then the wheels beginning to move. New sensations can be created, different concept can be made tangible.

When you read these words on this page you’ll be cynical, but when you feel it you’ll be convinced.

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