The Duke, Original Xbox Controller

There are a few things in history that were so terrible that they have ironically become more famous than if they were perfectly executed. In the gaming world, one of those is the original Xbox controller. Nicknamed “The Duke”, it earned a lot of names that would make parents blush. And yet that huge controller returns next month, albeit with some slight redesigns. And it’s coming back exactly because the very same gamers who derided it decades ago have demanded a throwback they’re actually willing to buy.

The original Xbox controller that was released in 2001 was huge by any day’s standards. The gaming world never let designer Seamus Blackley forget that. Imagine his surprise, then, when he posted the old controller on social media to get a few laughs and instead got not a few wishes to bring it back. The demand was so strong that Xbox’s Phil Spencer eventually gave in and even allowed a third-party to license and make the New Duke.

It’s not a mere reprint, so to speak. While it remains mostly faithful to the original design, as required by the agreement with Microsoft, the Hyperkin Duke adds a few modern touches to the controller. The most obvious one being the circular OLED screen at the center which displays the original Xbox boot animation.

Our beautiful beefy boy is back. #TheDuke #InsideXbox

— Xbox (@Xbox) March 10, 2018

It’s also different functionally. Xbox controllers have evolved over the years and buttons and controls haven’t remained the same. Hyperkin had a dilemma. It was required to stay true to the original Duke’s button layout, which had black and white buttons instead of shoulder buttons. At the same time, it had to be compatible with the Xbox One’s controller layout. The solution probably isn’t going to be popular but inescapable, bumper nubs above the triggers.

The new Duke is probably going to look and feel weird, especially with its 9-foot detachable capable instead of a wireless connection. But it’s that blast from the past that’s probably going to make this a hot item. The Hyperkin DUKE for Xbox One is available only at GameStop for $69.99. Launch date is set for April 30.

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