Microsoft’s Xbox line has a long and storied history, and the Xbox 360 is the console most people immediately associate with the brand, but long before the off-white tower of the 360 took over living rooms, the original Xbox desperately clawed for attention versus the PlayStation 2. That first Microsoft game console was a behemoth, weighing nearly nine pounds, and it launched with a controller that matched its ridiculous size. That gamepad is now lovingly referred to as the “Duke,” and while it was later replaced by the much smaller Xbox Controller S, plenty of gamers still love the Duke’s bulbous form factor. Now, over a decade and a half since its debut, Microsoft is bringing it back to life.
Through a partnership with third party peripheral maker Hyperkin, Microsoft will be re-releasing the Duke controller, complete with its oversized grips and massive center sphere. However, unlike the original gamepad which featured a gigantic non-functional Xbox logo in the center, the new version will be equipped with a circular LCD screen instead. The rest of the controller, right down to its domed control sticks and black-and-white bonus buttons, is identical to the original, and the pad will work with both PC and the Xbox One family.
It’s probably no coincidence that Microsoft decided to revive the retro gamepad around the same time that they revealed the Xbox One will be receiving backwards compatibility with original Xbox titles, and the controller will obviously be the ideal compliment for those revisiting the titles from yesteryear. Some of the key details of the re-release haven’t yet been hashed out, such as the price and actual launch date, but the process is moving forward, and the Duke will live again.