Last week's big Xbox One update was a welcome re-haul for Microsoft's console, making the machine faster, making its dashboard easier to navigate, and adding backwards compatibility for more than a hundred Xbox 360 games. It also, as Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hyrb noted yesterday, introduced control remapping options that allow gamers to change the function of their controller's buttons.
Elite controllers can totally remap their buttons
Standard controllers can now switch functions between pairs of buttons. If you're used to Japanese PlayStation controls, for example, where circle rather than X acts as the de facto "confirm selection" option, then you'll be able to remap your Xbox One controller's A button to B, with B becoming the new A. The $150 Elite controller can go a step further. Hyrb says that the A and B buttons are the only ones that need to be assigned to the controller, leaving users free to remove specific controls entirely — to avoid hitting them accidentally, perhaps — or to map more than one function to the same stick, button, trigger, or paddle.
The ability to tweak what a few buttons do on your controller was present in the Xbox 360's settings menu, but the options were extremely limited. This more sophisticated update, then, is good news for physically impaired gamers who may wish to switch face button functions to the controller's triggers, or vice versa, and for those (strange) people who regularly invert analogue stick controls. Rather than having to dig through a game's menus to remap controls every time you play — if they even support the option — gamers will be able to set their preferred controls as universal from the console's master "settings" menu.
Update, November 17th, 08.15AM ET: Updated to clarify that custom button mapping for Xbox 360 controllers was very limited.