'We break things for a living': how Microsoft tests its Xbox controllers

At a special Microsoft lab, joypads are tested to destruction to ensure they withstand pummelling by games aficionados

As soon as you open the door, the noise pummels you. It’s like the sound of a steam train, or even an experimental electronic music track. “Thankfully, no one needs to sit in here,” says the engineer showing us around. “You’d go crazy.”

This isn’t some kind of vast industrial production line – this is a laboratory at Microsoft’s otherwise sedate headquarters in Redmond, Washington. The extraordinary noise is created when button durability on dozens of Xbox controllers is tested simultaneously.

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