Microsoft OKs Hyperkin’s remake of the original Xbox Duke controller

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“The Duke” will return to enact its revenge upon all of us. Microsoft has approved Hyperkin’s updated remake of the original Xbox controller, and it is rolling into the next phase of production before the device launches for Xbox One and PC. Seamus Blackley, one of the people responsible for starting the Xbox division at Microsoft, is helping peripheral manufacturer Hyperkin bring back the Duke, and he announced that it is moving forward on social media.

Microsoft first debuted the Duke, which was never its official name, alongside the Xbox in 2001. The gamepad earned its nickname due to its massive size, and people seemed to originally use the “duke” name sarcastically as a criticism of its design. Microsoft would go on to launch the smaller Japanese controller as the S version in United States. That ended up replacing the Duke, and Microsoft never went back to the old design … until now. Microsoft introduced backward compatibility with certain original Xbox game on its Xbox One platform, and the company confirmed the Duke is fully compatible with those emulated titles.

The new controller still doesn’t have a release date or price, but Microsoft and Hyperkin will finalize that soon because mass production hasn’t even begun yet. Right now, Hyperkin is working on gathering up the tools and machines it needs to actually begin making the Duke at scale.

Blackley went on to say that the new Duke will include “many improvements” while maintaining “the same old feel.” One of the obvious improvements is the round LCD screen in the center of the controller. The old Xbox pad had a giant system logo in the middle, but Blackley insisted that Hyperkin add a small panel that could display animations and information.

I saw a prototype of the Duke at E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in Los Angeles) in June, and it looks identical to the original outside of the new display. Even the odd white and black buttons, which add a fifth and six face input, are here. Hopefully now that the controller is moving into productions we can go hands-on soon and give a full report on our impressions.

The PC Gaming channel is presented by Intel®‘s Game Dev program.

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