An official remake of the Microsoft Xbox 360 controller is on the way courtesy of gaming accessory maker Hyperkin (opens in a new tab). Hyperkin plans to reintroduce the controller to the market as the Hyperkin Xenon, named after the Xbox 360’s codename. The updated controller is meant to be true to the original design, but will get some modern features.
The Hyperkin Xenon will have a modernized menu, view and share buttons, and will get a 3.5mm headphone jack along with a USB-C cable. You’ll be able to get it in 360-era Xbox white, as well as black, pink, and red.
Hyperkin is a name you may have heard before if you’re a retro gaming enthusiast, or it’s a name you’ve heard because you know about how they revived the long-lost Duke, the first Xbox’s giant controller. The one that’s so big you can’t use it (opens in a new tab).
“Some are young enough to refer to this as ‘original’ Xbox controller for their friends,” said PC Gamer Senior Editor Wes Fenlon (opens in a new tab), a sentence that caused me some consternation. I am now old enough to have a gaming generation where I purposely jumped over Owning a console is considered retro, I guess. At 17 years old, the Xbox 360 controller isn’t yet ancient… but compared to hardware released this year, it’s as old as a Sinclair ZX80 or Atari 800 was when the Nintendo 64 came out. Or as old as the Sega Mega Drive was when the Xbox 360 was released.
Hyperkin’s Xenon design is impressive, I’ll admit, and many people will be thrilled to be able to buy a brand new controller in their favorite style. It even has marketing! Packaging!
But I have to ask… what’s the point of remaking this? The best PC controllers (opens in a new tab) are developments of the 360 controller design. And you can buy them… everywhere. Yet, 17 years later, you can find them in thrift or charity shops and littering tabletops like craigslist. You can find a thousand knockoffs brand new for $15-20 on any given game marketplace. It’s been my controller for years for just that reason: If it stops working, I can get a new one for $5 tops. Sure some new buttons are cool, but you don’t need them unless you are using a current generation console.
Anyway, if that remake of The Duke was for some, this remake is for a much larger group of some. You can actually fit your hands around it, after all.