Microsoft's massive Xbox controller, nicknamed Duke, is staging a comeback

By | August 5, 2020

Microsoft’s original Xbox controller is making a comeback and it’s all thanks to Seamus Blackley, a video game designer that helped Microsoft create its first console.

The oversized gamepad, appropriately nicknamed “Duke,” shipped with the original Xbox console in 2001. While immediately recognizable, the controller was far from a hit. Game Informer called it the “Blunder of the Year” and IGN ranked it as the second worst video game controller ever (behind the Atari Jaguar’s controller). Duke even earned a Guinness World Record for the biggest controller.

Microsoft in 2002 pulled Duke from system bundles, replacing it with a slimmer gamepad called Controller S. The supersized controller stuck around for a while longer, however, as an optional accessory.

As Polygon highlights, Blackley has been leading the charge to bring Duke back into existence. His efforts have paid off as a replica for Xbox One and Windows 10 has been approved by Microsoft and has gone to tooling.

The modern Duke will feature a nine-foot-long breakaway cord and a small display in the center where the Xbox logo was originally positioned.

Hyperkin, the company behind the recent Game Boy-like mobile accessory, is participating in the comeback.

Astute readers may notice that the two sticks in the image above are backwards. Given its rough prototype nature, it’s likely that this is a mere oversight that’ll be corrected before manufacturing.

No word yet on pricing or availability.


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