The Xbox 360 controller is making an official comeback along with its awful D-Pad
Hyperkin is bringing Microsoft's classic gamepad back from the dead
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Xbox 360 returns
🎮 An officially licensed re-release of the Xbox 360 controller is on the way
💻 Hyperkin is remaking the classic controller for Xbox Series X|S and PC
✨ The gamepad is being tweaked to bring it into the current gaming generation
🚫 No release date or price has yet been announced
Peripheral manufacturer Hyperkin is bringing back the Xbox 360’s iconic controller in celebration of the console’s 17th anniversary.
The officially licensed gamepad – named the Xenon after the Xbox 360’s internal codename – will be a close replica of the original controller, albeit with a few tweaks to bring it into the current gaming generation. Menu, View and Share buttons have all been added in place of the Start and Back inputs, alongside a 3.5mm headphone jack and a detachable USB-C cable. The controller is a wired-only gamepad, though, which might put some people off.
The Xenon will be compatible with both Xbox Series X|S and PC, so you can use it to play all the best Xbox Series games with the same functionality as the current, standard Xbox Wireless Controller. You’ll be able to nab the Xenon in black, white, pink, and red.
No release date or price has been announced yet, although Hyperkin’s Duke – the company’s updated version of the original, bulky Xbox controller that was released in 2018 – goes for $69.99. I expect to see a similar price tag attached to the Xenon.
Will it become one of our go-to retro controllers and make its way to our pick of the best Xbox Series X accessories? I’m skeptical. Gamepads have come a long way since the Xbox 360 hit shelves in 2005. Besides pro controllers like Sony’s upcoming DualSense Edge, the standard PS5 DualSense and Xbox Series X|S’s Xbox Wireless Controller are leagues ahead of the gamepads of old.
The Xbox 360 controller feels rather plasticky and cheap. It doesn't support button remapping and the front inputs are noticeably less tactile. That’s to say nothing of the D-pad – forget articulated inputs, this thing’s just a chunk of plastic stuck on-top of an 8-way analog stick and is widely regarded as one of the worst D-pads around. Hardly the premium experience players have come to expect from their hardware.
Make no mistake, nostalgia is doing a lot of the heavy lifting here, but collectors might like to add it to their collection. At the very least, the controller will add some novelty to playing all the upcoming Xbox Series X games.
The Shortcut is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.