The Xbox Duke controller is coming back this year in March with some changes. The Xbox Duke controller was the original controller launched alongside the first Xbox back in 2001. It was replaced worldwide just the next year by the “Controller S” which was launched alongside the original Xbox in Japan citing popular demand.
At the time of launch, the controller was also criticised for being bulky compared to what other gaming consoles offered at that time. The original Duke controller had an 8MB removable memory slot for game save files, which won’t make it to the reiteration of the controller coming out this year. CNET reports that the standalone controller will cost $70 (Rs 4,440 approx), making it more expensive than the current standard Xbox controller, but still cheaper than the Xbox Elite controller.
The new Duke Xbox controller will mostly have the same dimensions as the original but with some newly added functionality. It won’t have the memory card slots. It will have a standard USB cable plug-in, tiny shoulder buttons above the triggers and an OLED display in the middle. The OLED display plays the Xbox logo on boot-up. The CNET report, however, does not mention whether this new Duke controller will work wirelessly like most other controllers available today. That said, it will work with the Xbox 360, all versions of the Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.
The move can be seen as Microsoft's way to bring back nostalgia similar to rival Nintendo bringing back the old NES consoles. However, the Nintendo NES has been one of the most popular consoles of all times. The Xbox Duke controller, on the other hand, hasn't been that popular, with Game Informer magazine even calling it the “Blunder of the year” back in 2001.
Seamus Blackley who co-wrote the initial Xbox proposal, told CNET, “I don't know a lot of brands that would re-release an unpopular product from the past ... and Phil (Spencer, head of Xbox), I think correctly understands that it sends a message. He understands that it sends a message about how serious Xbox is about its heritage, and about the fans”.
Hence, it seems Microsoft knows that the controller wasn’t a success back then but still thinks it is a good idea to bring it back for the fans it has garnered over the years.