The SideWinder Sleeps Tonight

By John Walker on March 2nd, 2011 at 1:11 pm.

Let's all join in a chorus of Thine Be The Glory.

I wasn’t sure whether to post about the discontinuation of Microsoft’s SideWinder peripherals. Then Kieron emailed with the above headline, and there clearly wasn’t any choice. VR-Zone reports that the Beast Of Redmond are ditching the line of mice and keyboards for a second time, after previously cancelling the line in 2003. A 2007 relaunch failed to catch fire, with only a handful of products ever appearing. And now they are to be put to rest. I suppose Microsoft are learning that you can’t lay a patch by computer design.

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73 Comments »

  1. serioustiger says:

    This news doesn’t really grab me.

    Today I need something more sub-sub-sub-substantial.

    • Pop says:

      Try a reading from Dr Seuss

      {-_-}

    • Josh04 says:

      “You can’t lay a patch by computer design?”

      Clearly Michael Stipe had been playing Magicka at the time.

    • Bhazor says:

      OooooooOoooOOOoooooOoooh
      Crumbly pie make up
      Covered in chive pack ups

  2. Kaira- says:

    What a shame.

  3. Spooty says:

    Damn.

    I usually go with Logitech peripherals but decided on a Microsoft Sidewinder X8 upon upgrading a year ago. Felt a little large at first compared to my Logitech G7 but once I was used to it it easily became the best mouse I’ve ever used.

    Shame.

    • Eogram says:

      Same here, I went from a Logitech G7 to the Sidewinder in the picture. Nice big comfy mouse.
      Granted, I’ve never had any use for the macro button. And the ‘Games for Windows’ button is useless, but that one’s out of the way at least.

    • Tizoc says:

      Agreed, best mouse I had so far.Well I’ll try not to break it!
      The best thing about it is its magnetic cable : it’s brilliant, honestly.

    • ripping says:

      Endorse this recommendation. Changed to an X8 from years of Logitech mice when my g5 conked and didn’t regret it. Really good tech to make a wireless mouse perform just as well as a wired gaming device.

      Sad to see it go.

  4. bill says:

    When you’re rocking (I love your rock)
    When you’re ticking (I’m your tock)
    Then again you’re a just a thought
    You think I’m lying but I’m not.

  5. bill says:

    I guess there is no market for sidewinder pads when many modern directx/xna games don’t seem to support general directinput pads – only xbox pads. What’s up with that anyway?

    • Kaira- says:

      I don’t know about DirectX (isn’t that just a library for accessing GPU easily?), but XNA makes it very easy to write support for Xbox pad. I believe, though haven’t tested yet, that is should be quite easy to extend to regular pads.

    • zergrush says:

      You can always use an xbox360 controller emulator, but yeah, it sucks that developers don’t implement support for different controllers.

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      shoptroll says:

      I think XNA can easily compile for the 360 (as both Windows and the 360 can execute the managed run time which is based on .NET) so that’s probably why they only support a single gamepad (unfortunately).

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_XNA

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “I don’t know about DirectX (isn’t that just a library for accessing GPU easily?)”

      That’s Direct3D. For input, you have DirectInput. DirectX is simply all the DirectWhatever stuff put together.
      The new input-handling interface that’s used for X360 pads is called XInput, and is limited to that set of sticks/buttons/triggers/force feedback/etc.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      I have a Logitech gamepad that works just fine in games. Never had an issue. This “Need an Xbox pad” thing seems to be a misnomer.

      Bought my son a cheap generic pad, and that’s worked fine on everything we’ve thrown at it too.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Same. I use a PS2 pad via a usb convertor dongle thing which I’ve had for about 5 years now & have no problems playing stuff like Super Meat Boy, Spelunky, Geometry Wars, Space Giraffe, Gridrunner Revolution etc. That’s not even an actual PC gamepad & yet it works fine via DirectInput since it has a half decent driver written.

  6. MeestaNob says:

    As long as they’re still super keen on being a dominant player in the PC gaming market this shouldn’t be an issue.

    Yeah, right.

  7. Premium User Badge

    James G says:

    Never used a Sidewinder, although generally because I stick with simpler mice. (Currently sporting a Logitech M705, got on warranty exchange when my MX3000 combo gave up the ghost.) Have used MS mice in the past though, the ubiquitous intelli-mouse for one, and found them great. My Intelli-mouse lasted almost ten years, and I only retired it because it was looking a little shabby and the ball wasn’t moving as smoothly as it used to.

  8. vodka and cookies says:

    Microsoft do make good mice in general but that Sidewinder mouse was incredibly uncomfortable to hold so I’m not surprised it was finally killed off.

    The good news is someone as Microsoft realized that all they have to do is make a variant of the old school wired laser 6000 mouse with the bluetrack tech, click mouse wheel and most people would be happy and they did it called the Comfort Mouse 6000
    http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/ProductDetails.aspx?pid=136

  9. Teddy Leach says:

    I’m perfectly happy with my Logitech G5, so this news doesn’t bother me. That thing looks damned uncomfortable to use though.

  10. Sarlix says:

    I use a Razer Krait mouse which is 5 years old this year! It’s currently only working due to an elaborate repair job I did evolving elastic bands, blue-tac, super glue and an ingenious pulley system.

  11. Starayo says:

    D:

    I love my sidewinder X8! Where am I going to get another wireless mouse that meets all my needs so well now?!

    • Premium User Badge

      hmrf says:

      This.

      (I always wanted try the “this.” – thing, and that was the perfect opportunity. I really like my X8, so that’s bad news)

  12. Premium User Badge

    Monchberter says:

    AGAIN?! ALREADY?!? :(

    I’ve found the Sidewinder range to be rock solid and by tieing it to Windows 7′s auto update feature it meant that they were always uptodate. Ok, so the macro functions were unwieldy and the keyboard was quirky (detachable number pad for lefties or righties), but i’ll be sticking with my overengineered original Sidewinder Mouse reboot and Sidewinder Keyboard for a while yet.

    Thanks (for once) MS.

  13. Oak says:

    As a hardcore gamer who is serious about extreme gaming, I exclusively use Razer™ gaming peripherals.

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      Monchberter says:

      *chugs Mountain Dew XXXXXXXtreeeeeme*

    • Persus-9 says:

      But those machines will only swallow money. I had one and I had to replace it within a year because one of the microswitches gave out. I’ve had my substance over style Logitech G5 ever since.

    • John Walker says:

      I imagine Oak wearing racing overalls plastered in sponsor logos as he says that.

    • Sarlix says:

      Hey leave Razer alone! My Krait is 5 years old now and still going, so don’t knock it.

      No seriously, don’t knock it.

    • Persus-9 says:

      Lucky you, unfortunately my Copperhead was the worst mouse I’ve ever bought and reading around when it started to play up it seems it was a common fault with Copperheads that they just died after about a year. Seems like pretty much everyone who has anything good to say about Razer has a Krait and has only ever had one. Strikes me the Krait was probably a really good mouse but I won’t be rushing to try out any of there other mice. One bite by that damn Copperhead has been enough to put me off.

      Also this was the only place I could think to crowbar in something along the lines of “But this machine will only swallow money”.

    • Sarlix says:

      “One bite by that damn Copperhead has been enough to put me off”

      Oh you didn’t….

      Unfortunately they don’t make or sell the Krait anymore. Well unless you count a dude from Korea selling them on ebay. Thats why I’ve had to resort to emergency repair jobs on mine. I may of exaggerated about the pulley system, but it’s literally operating by cleverly glued bit of plastic and blue-tac. Still works at 97% of efficiency though, and is the best mouse I’ve ever used. Hence why I’m loathed to give it up.

  14. Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

    I bought a Sidewinder X3 after my old Logitech Cheap-Ass fell apart. I love it.

    Mostly because I was looking for a mouse that didn’t look like it had been through a tumble dryer with a breezeblock. Because goddamn.

  15. Wulf says:

    That is a shame. Microsoft have always been neither here nor there with software design (though Win 7 is a step up from anything they’ve tried before, but it’s still not Linux), and some of their software has been an abomination (Internet Explorer), and their console entry was way too pop-culture for me (the 360), I did always love their hardware division.

    Microsoft’s hardware division was a do-no-wrong thing in my opinion. Their stuff was competitively priced, but solidly built, good stuff. Even the six button Sidewinder gamepad was something that you couldn’t really say anything bad about, way back when. And their Sidewinder joysticks were fabulous. This doesn’t mean that their hardware division is closing, thankfully, as they still make some of the most amazing ergonomic keyboards out there (which I’m happy about, should I ever go desktop again).

    Still… it’s a damn shame that the Sidewinder range is ending, that was good stuff.

    • Josh04 says:

      “Win 7 is a step up from anything they’ve tried before, but it’s still not Linux”

      As someone who used Ubuntu full-time for two and a half years and filed bug reports and a laptop review for the problems I had… I respectfully disagree. Also gaming.

    • Wulf says:

      Please note that I didn’t say that Windows 7 wasn’t better. People need to not be so defensive about opinions, srsly. No, I was just stating preference. I prefer Linux as it’s a more open platform than Windows is, but this is a functional preference. In no way did I mean to imply that Linux is better than Windows, but simply that I prefer it as an OS.

      And you can’t really disagree with what I prefer, that’s as silly as disagreeing with my favourite food or colour.

    • Spacewalk says:

      I still have my Sidewinder pad and it still works as well as the day I got it. That’s quality.

  16. obvioustroll says:

    ”Calling Jamaica”

  17. P4p3Rc1iP says:

    OMG! Look at this thing! It’s like the motherfucking temple of NOD! OMG!

    But seriously, I couldn’t live without my Logitech MX1000. Buttons, millions of them! Programmable too! And when they solved that “sleep mode problem” and the “registering surfaces 2 cm away” thing it had at launch, it’s been really really great. Have had one since they introduced it, and when I broke the middle mouse button after dropping it from my table, I still had warranty and got a second generation. Have been using it for like 3 years now, still all great!

    Until there is a new, better mouse with 10 programmable buttons, I think I’ll stick with the MX1000

  18. Persus-9 says:

    They haven’t stopped making mice, just this branding so it doesn’t strike me this means that much. Perhaps more collaborations with Razer. Whatever you want to call them I’d bet my bottom dollar they’ll still be Microsoft gaming mice. It’s just a lot of stupid, stupid signs.

  19. Red_Avatar says:

    Crap :( My Sidewinder X6 keyboard is the best one I ever had. It walks all over the Logitech keyboards – nice two dials for backlight and volume, detachable keypad, lots of macro keys and, most of all, the keys remain soft even after a year. Logitech keys become less comfortable and soft to use over time, even their most expensive keyboards.

    By the way, Logitech is going downhill. Their mice break down in no time these days, their keyboards get sticky keys, their most expensive headphones have a massive weak spot where they break, their webcams constantly drop support – even my Vista webcam refuses to run on Windows 7 unless I use a lot of tricks – Logitech really need to stop fucking around. I always buy their mice but I may soon change to another brand if this keeps going. I paid £70 for their latest mouse and I’m already having some doubts about the design.

  20. trjp says:

    Typed on a Sidewinder X6 keyboard which is lovely and entirely unique in allowing me to move the numpad to the left side and/or use it as a macro pad (or even remove it entirely to save space) at any time…
    Amazing bit of kit – esp as I got it for £25…

    I also agree with the comment on Logitech keyboards losing their action FAR too quickly – I tend to wear them down in under 9 months wheras this X6 is 2 years old and still lovely (and my original MS Keyboard is still here and it’s about 13!!)

  21. Potajito says:

    I have an X8 too! I don’t really like Logitech mices, and after having an optical MS mouse for more than 7 years working without a fault, I kind of had to buy another one from MS :P

  22. squareking says:

    Bam! Botched tit job.

    I was looking at the Sidewinder series of keyboards recently; I’d like an illuminated, wired board for not so much cash. Maybe this news will make prices drop?

  23. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    As long as they keep producing the IntelliExplorer mice, I’m happy. The Explorer 3.0 is still the best mouse I have ever had, beating everything that Razer produced over the years (with the first Boomslang being an exception – that was a hell of a mouse).

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I got myself an Intellimouse Explorer v2 about a decade ago & when it died I bought a v3. 3 years ago I bought a v4 but had to replace it last year with one of the new “relaunched” black v3′s & haven’t looked back. My original v3 still works it’s just very well worn & I used it in the interim while I waited for the new one (the relaunched v3′s have higher DPI & better buttons though IMO).
      The only downside is the feet on them but for a £10-15 mouse, spending a couple of quid on replacement teflon feet isn’t a deal breaker in my opinion when you’ll get literally years of use out of them.
      Having said that, the Comfort Mouse 6000 someone else linked up thread looks very much like the Intellimouse Explorer v3 with better tracking so if my current v3 breaks I may have to give it a whirl.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Colthor says:

    I bought one of those fancy Microsoft meese last year! It’s… Okay, I suppose. With replacement feet it’s fine at 2,000dpi, but without them it’s pretty juddery and it’s still not that hot at 4,000 dpi. But otherwise it’s very comfortable and nice, and the wireless magnetic chargy-thing is very fancy.

    I hope they keep making their keyboards, though. The MS Natural 4000 is the best keyboard I’ve ever used.

  25. mcwizardry says:

    I have been using a X5 Sidewinder mouse since last year and have been pretty happy with it so far.

  26. GHudston says:

    Can’t say I’m that bothered by this. Every time that I’ve bought a new mouse I have considered microsoft’s offering and ultimately passed it up for something else.

    I’m more than thrilled with my R.A.T. 9, but then again, who wouldn’t be happy with a wireless mouse that could pass for Megatrons left testicle.

  27. Noterist says:

    I wish I had still had my Sidewinder Freestyle Pro pad, for comedy value.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q36BTomIZk

    Forget that Sony SixAxis stuff, Microsoft perfected abysmal motion controls yonks ago!

    • Persus-9 says:

      I’d almost forgotten about that. I’m sure I still have my own of those somewhere since I’m sure I didn’t use it enough to break it and I wouldn’t have thrown it away. It also had a really spongy horrible D-pad as I recall so even if you turned the motion control off it wasn’t a very nice pad. What is it with Microsoft and horrible D-Pads?

    • Premium User Badge

      Monchberter says:

      Ahh, I remember that! History always repeats itself

  28. terry says:

    I have never used this mouse but I dislike these extremely angular mice that seem to be in vogue. I have a “comfort optical 3000″ or something and it feels like clasping a miniature Audi TT in your palm, but without the functionality of a tiny car. It is extremely comfortable and has not broken yet. It is by my definition a good mouse. I look at these things that menace with spikes of neon and bristle with springmounted buttons and I wince a little.

  29. BooleanBob says:

    Comfort opticalz represent. We who know the secret truth; three buttons is enough(!).

  30. LMN8R says:

    God damn it. My Sidewinder X8 is the best mouse I’ve ever used. Better than any Logitech mouse, that’s for sure, and I’ve tried pretty much every mainstream model.

  31. Cynic says:

    My heart hardened back when I found out the hard way they they’d removed support for force-feedback in XP from the best joystick they ever made. Everything since has gradually turned me into a cold Microsoft input device cynic, especially the rubbish with XNA games only recognising 360 controllers. At this, I sneer.

    • Kotua says:

      Isn’t XNA for the 360 though? I assumed that’s why they didn’t bother adding support for other controllers.

    • Kaira- says:

      XNA is a framework for Windows, Xbox360, Zune and Windows Phone 7. So yeah. Though it shouldn’t be impossible to write support for other pads. But I can’t say that I feel like complaining, Xbox360 pad is one of the best pads I’ve ever had, and XNA is a very nice framework in all other respects. YMMV, though.

  32. scopie says:

    Does anyone know if this extends to the SideWinder joystick series? Suppose that may have been discontinued long ago anyway, got a SideWinder Precision Pro and have been happily using it for over 10 years… Say what you will about their OSes, but Microsoft peripherals are typically boss (As typed on my Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000)!

  33. fuggles says:

    Thus dies a peripheral once described as looking like a two-way sex aid. So long sidewinder game pad, happy trails.

  34. Darko Drako says:

    I am really happy with my sidewinder x8. A wireless gaming mouse for circa £40 -> you cant complain. I dont think there is anything else out there in its price range.

    As mentioned above the integration with windows update is also a useful feature.

    Perhaps they are just going to kill the sidewinder brand and, but keep the products under a different name?

  35. Kismet says:

    No Strategic Commander 10th Anniversary Edition then? :(

  36. Premium User Badge

    MinisterofDOOM says:

    MS mice and keyboards have always had goofy ergonomics to me. They don’t fit my hands.
    I do, however, have an original first-gen Sidewinder joystick (rotary throttle) on my shelf. Serial connection, baby! Heavy Gear still doesn’t feel right without it, despite my fondness for WASD.

  37. daf says:

    It’s really a shamed as the x3 was one of the few inexpensive lefty gaming mouses around even though a very flawed one (mouse wheel is prone to jamming) :\

  38. MDS says:

    *dreams* Hopefully Microsoft will totally pull out of the PC gaming market, Valve will figure out an easy way to present PC gaming through your TV (see earlier article) and one day people will look back on the dedicated console age and shake their heads in bafflement

  39. Jahandar says:

    I really liked the X4 keyboard. I might have to hurry and buy another while they are still available.

    • RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

      Yeah, I wanted to buy the X4 Keyboard as well, but I couldn’t buy it with the US international layout. All the other keyboards try to work around the ghosting issue. That keyboard actually fixed it.

    • Jahandar says:

      Yep, the anti-ghosting is exactly why I bought it and love it.

  40. Papageno says:

    The Sidewinder Force Feedback Pro was an epic joystick–I was _pissed_ when they discontinued support for it in XP. Luckily my brother bought a Force Feedback 2 at some point, which is supported in XP at least, and I can use it till it breaks or until XP becomes impractical to use at all.