Several months ago, the video game peripheral manufacturer Hyperkin announced plans to revive “The Duke”–that is, the original controller for the very first Xbox–for use with Microsoft’s current generation consoles. Microsoft went on to approve the company’s work on the recreation of the controller, and now it looks as if the product finally has a price and a release window for fans to put in their calendars.
As seen in the tweet below from the original Xbox designer Seamus Blackley, The Duke remake from Hyperkin will be available sometime at the end of March, and set players back $70 should they choose to purchase it. According to Hyperkin, the controller will not only be compatible with Xbox One, but also with the PC platform.
THE NEW DUKE CONTROLLER is available at the END OF MARCH for $69.99 And what a wonderful moment! Thanks @XboxP3 Thanks @Hyperkin!!! pic.twitter.com/KB9C6BYxCe
— Seamus Blackley (@SeamusBlackley) January 12, 2018
In an interview with CNet during CES 2018, Blackley also divulged that Hyperkin’s reimagining of The Duke will include new bumper buttons, as well as an OLED screen in the center of the controller to show the first Xbox’s startup reel. As the original Xbox designer explained, “I built a prototype myself, because I knew if I said we should put a screen behind the jewel nobody would ever go for it.”
Interestingly enough, Blackley only pushed the idea for a Duke remake forward after a plethora of fans on Twitter insisted that it make a return in some shape or form due to it being a beloved relic of their past. At first, the Xbox designer was averse to the notion of re-releasing the controller after discovering to his “horror” and “fascination” that many Twitter users saw The Duke as “an object of nostalgia and comfort and happiness and childhood memories.” Nevertheless, he understood it to be a venture that the fans would cherish and celebrate, so he got to work on making it happen.
“I don’t know a lot of brands that would rerelease an unpopular product from the past . . . and Phil [Spencer], 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.”
All things considered, it will be interesting to see how well The Duke for Xbox One will do in the marketplace once it’s released in a couple of months from now. While plenty of fans might be content to simply stick with the fluidity and versatility of the console’s Elite controller, some may be swayed by how the new Duke handles on the Xbox One at launch.
The Duke for Xbox One releases in March 2018.