Xbox’s giant joypad for mega hands is coming to PC

It's so big it doesn't even fit comfortably into this pictrue

Have you got thumbs the size of two large chorizos? Well good news, sausage hands, the original Xbox pad, aka The Duke, aka the only videogame controller that has ever fit snugly into your colossal claws, is seeing a re-release in March. It has seen a few small changes but the dimensions remain chunky and challenging. And like it’s modern counterparts, it’ll be usable on PC.

The differences seem minor. Two small shoulder buttons have been added and the clear plastic bauble in the middle of the pad is now an LED display that shows the old Xbox startup sequence (but nothing else). It’s a USB wired controller, not wireless, so no sitting over there. Only over here, yes, on the beanbag.

This is all thanks to the original Xbox designer Seamus Blackley. In 2016 Blackley tweeted a photo of the old controller on a whim and so many people responded with nostalgia that he decided to see if it was possible to re-release it, according to an interview with Cnet in which he talks about the controller and how its revival came about. He got the blessing of Xbox chief Phil Spencer to remake the pad, roped in peripheral manufacturer Hyperkin, and has been showing off prototypes at game shows since June last year.

The Cnet interview also goes into some fun hardware history, such as the reasons why the controller was so massive in the first place. This is a fun tidbit:

Blackley takes the blame for the original Duke being the size it was.

“I’d taken my eye off the ball when it came to the controller … and the circuit board was given out to a vendor who was a friend of somebody or a brother of somebody. So the circuit board they came up with was the size of a dinner plate,” he half-jokes.

“My good friend and industrial designer had to get a controller around this damn thing, so she did … she was in tears and I was the person who had to deal with it.

“I had physical things thrown at me as a result of this controller,” he says.

Previous showings of the revamped controller have confirmed it would be usable on Windows 10. Hopefully, there’s no reason it shouldn’t function on other versions of Windows, even if that means fiddling with the device manager and doing the usual sacrifices and incantations.

It’ll be out at the end of March this year, says Blackley, and will cost $69.99.

36 Comments

  1. chope says:

    yass. hopefully it’ll have a better dpad

    • RachelLynch says:

      I get paid over 85 bucks per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. This is what i do… Click Here And Start Work

  2. Asurmen says:

    I liked the pad, and I have small to average hands. It had a comforting weight to it, and I could reach everything.

  3. wraithgr says:

    Wow, I can’t imagine the amount of nostalgia it would take to buy this at the listed price over an Xbox 360 controller, or any 3rd party controller for that matter.

  4. Cim says:

    I love The Duke controller, it fits my over-sized hands perfectly… but why they had to go include an OLED screen on it has me scratching my head. Makes it feel like something you’re supposed to put a shelf for collectible purposes rather than actually use.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    I really believe it’s the most comfortable gamepad I’ve ever tried, but the OLED screen? That price?

  6. HiroTheProtagonist says:

    Seems a bit superfluous, since lots of 360 pads came with a converter for OG Xbox, and I imagine that converter could turn most Duke pads into PC pads with x360ce.

    Still, the Duke pad is pretty cool. I could see using it for 6-button fighting games nowadays.

  7. stringerdell says:

    Are there really that many people crying out for a £50 giant xbox controller?

  8. Scare Tactics says:

    The PS controller is still vastly superior. I don’t get why MS designed the joysticks with a bulge instead of a mound. My thumbs hurt every time after a longer play session because they mostly make contact with the small “crater”like edge. Also its less precise imo. But then again, what good has MS produced yet..

    • jawbone78 says:

      The PS controllers are terrible. PS4’s is slightly better, but still nowhere near the XBox S/360/One controllers. I actually liked the Duke, because as an average-sized adult man it’s appropriately sized for my hands.

  9. TychoCelchuuu says:

    This was always my favorite console controller. I have weird tastes I guess – the Playstation controller has always been nigh unusable for me. I’m fairly happy with the 360 controller I have, but it’s getting long in the tooth, so if this thing is a winner maybe I’ll grab it.

  10. melerski says:

    I had my “duke” connected to my PC back in the day. Big hands and I loved
    it for all the buttons. Used it for IL-2 Sturmovik, GTR, Colin McRae,.. I remember the triggers were a bit hard to hold down for long periods of time though. The cable is nice and long with a neat break plug. A solid piece of hardware, just like the OG XBox.

    I read a rumour that the original XBox controller was supposed to have a screen, which kind of makes sense because the Dreamcast controller had a screen too. Maybe that’s why they are putting in a screen now. I don’t understand why else they would do it, it’s 1nsane.

  11. welverin says:

    One more thing to shake your confidence in humanity.

  12. grimdanfango says:

    I have a distinct memory at the time of Microsoft proudly spinning a huge PR yarn about how several million dollars of research and development had been poured in to refining the design of just the controller for their glorious debut console. (And subsequently everyone taking the piss out of them when the result of those millions was revealed)

    I’d taken my eye off the ball when it came to the controller … and the circuit board was given out to a vendor who was a friend of somebody or a brother of somebody. So the circuit board they came up with was the size of a dinner plate

    So this was the truth of the matter?

  13. mitrovarr says:

    Things fancy, expensive controllers don’t need to have – pointless OLED displays.

    Things fancy, expensive controllers do need to have – wireless capabiliy.

    • HiroTheProtagonist says:

      But does it really wireless capability? Most of the time you’re sitting within 10 feet of the screen/console/PC, and nothing breaks the flow like having your batteries die mid-game. What advantages does a wireless controller confer over wired, besides the lack of a trip hazard for clumsy people?

      • mitrovarr says:

        Not turning your desk into more of a cable mess than it already is.

        • April March says:

          No, I still prefer a wild tangle of masses to having to continuously recharge my controllers. All of my peripherals are wired and I wouldn’t change it for nothing. Well, for infinitely-lasting batteries I might.

          Related: link to deathbulge.com

          • Premium User Badge

            keithzg says:

            To be fair, the second-gen Xbone controllers are a good compromise, where a standard micro-USB cable will plug in and work perfectly fine (at least under Linux, I haven’t really tried under Windows but I mean I can only assume it’s fine on Microsoft’s own OS, hah) or you can use bluetooth (which again I’ve only tried with Linux and with a Steam Link, but has worked 100% without issue). And since the charging cable is the same as the data cable and is entirely standard, there’s no additional hassle of having to have the cable or worrying about what to do if it breaks since it’s easily replaceable and you can even use that dangling cable for other things if you’ve stashed your controller away for the time being. Hooray for standards!

            I definitely agree though, certainly all my keyboards and mice are nice and wired.

      • Khazidhea says:

        Might not make much difference for the average user, but having wireless as an option does give flexibility in different setups. For instance I have my computer in a different room to my TV, so I can play with a mouse and keyboard at my desk, or use a wireless controller on my couch in the other room. And if I don’t want to rely on batteries I can charge from the power point behind me, and still not have any cables running across the floor near the entrance way.

      • emertonom says:

        I can personally attest that knocking over a beverage with a wire due to an overly enthusiastic controller gesture interrupts game flow even more alarmingly than having batteries die.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorLag says:

      I find it interesting that a certain category of PC users who seem very concerned about latency also insist on using wireless devices.

  14. gnalvl says:

    This is a non-starter at $70. You can get an original xbox controller, along with the necessary adapters to connect it to your PC or Xbox One for a tiny fraction of the cost.

    link to amazon.com

    link to cirrustheduck.com

    For what it’s worth, I do remember the sticks on OG Xbox feeling smoother for games like Halo CE than later MS controllers on Halo 3 and up, but not nearly enough to make this 70$ OLED remake worthwhile.

  15. sergiocornaga says:

    This is a surprise! I hope the face buttons are still pressure sensitive, I feel like that’s one of the advantages this had over the 360 controller.

  16. Chillicothe says:

    Don’t ask yourself “is The Duke a man enough controller for me?”, ask yourself “am I man enough for The Duke?”

  17. Premium User Badge

    keithzg says:

    Previous showings of the revamped controller have confirmed it would be usable on Windows 10. Hopefully, there’s no reason it shouldn’t function on other versions of Windows, even if that means fiddling with the device manager and doing the usual sacrifices and incantations.

    Eh, who makes a device that doesn’t at least comply with the standard xbox controller spec these days? I mean, even Microsoft’s Xbox One controllers work perfectly fine in Linux, zero fiddling required. As long as this does too, I’ll definitely pick one up; I do seriously find it to have been the most comfortable controller I’ve ever used.

  18. Premium User Badge

    MajorLag says:

    I really wish the 6 face button layout had stuck, because there aren’t a lot of 6 face button controllers on the market, X-Input doesn’t support the extra 2 buttons, and developers keep insisting on using X-Input instead of the more versatile APIs available to them. Saturn and Genesis games just don’t feel right with a 4 face + 2 shoulder layout.

  19. Eleriel says:

    It’s the most comfo controller I’ve ever played with but there have been a few innovations since the Duke that I wouldn’t mind if they incorporated.

    Shoulder-buttons instead of the hard-to-reach light and dark buttons, for instance. Paddles underneath might be nice too… perhaps a better d-pad as well (Love the ones on the PS Vita and DS4 controller).

  20. vorador says:

    I don’t get the point of the display if its just shows a canned animation. Make it programmable and we’re talking.

    Still, i have small hands so The Duke is not for me.

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