Hyperkin showed off plenty of neat retro accessories at CES 2018, but one of the standouts was the original Xbox controller, commonly referred to as the Duke. This hulking gamepad is oddly making a comeback by the end of March according to Hyperkin for $70 USD. Official international pricing hasn’t been stated but one can estimate £50 GBP and $90 AUD.
Given that it was happily succeeded by the Xbox S controller during the first generation of Microsoft’s console, the Duke’s return taps into perplexing nostalgia. However, after getting our hands on it at CES, we noticed that it does have some modern touches. While button placement is exactly the same as before, there are two tiny shoulder buttons to act as the black and white buttons, which are also still functional on the controller. The Duke is noticeably lighter than its forebear as well.
In terms of other modern features, the Xbox One’s view and menu buttons are found in the middle. But at dead-center where the Xbox logo once stood is a huge circle that plays the boot-up screen animation of the original console when it’s pressed. The Duke will only work through a wired micro USB connection and it is compatible with PC, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
Sean Hollister from CNET (GameSpot’s sister site) spoke with Seamus Blackley, co-creator of the Xbox, about how and why the massive gamepad is coming back. Blackley said it’s “miraculous” that he got Microsoft’s approval, but continued:
“I discovered to my horror and fascination that The Duke was an object of nostalgia and comfort and happiness and childhood memories, and all these people with big hands saying it was the only controller that was comfortable.”
“I contacted Phil [Spencer, Head of Xbox], who was a buddy of mine, and asked, ‘Phil, is this crazy enough to do?’ and some of the hardware guys who were there when the Xbox was on the drawing board said we should absolutely do it.”
Hyperkin is digging up the past in more ways than one; check out our impressions on the Game Boy remake called the Ultra GB. For more on what came out of CES 2018, be sure to read through our roundup of the best gaming hardware at the show, and best accessories on display.