An official remake of the Microsoft Xbox 360 controller is on the way courtesy of gaming peripherals manufacturer Hyperkin. Hyperkin plans to reintroduce the controller to market as the Hyperkin Xenon, named after the Xbox 360's codename. The updated controller is intended to be faithful to the original design, but will gain some modern features.
The Hyperkin Xenon will have a modernized menu, view, and share buttons, and will gain a 3.5mm headphone jack alongside 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 might 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 so big you can't really use it.
"Someone is young enough to be referring to this as the 'original' Xbox controller to their friends," said PC Gamer Senior Editor Wes Fenlon, a sentence which caused me a certain amount of consternation. I'm now old enough to have a game generation in which I purposely skipped owning a console be considered retro, I guess. At 17 years of age the Xbox 360 controller is not 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 released.
Hyperkin's Xenon design is impressive, I'll admit, and lots of people will be thrilled to be able to buy a brand-spanking-new controller in their favorite style. It even has marketing! Packaging!
But I gotta ask... what's the point of remaking this? The best PC controllers are evolutions of the 360 controller's design. And you can buy them... everywhere. Still, 17 years later, you can find them in thrift or charity shops and littering online boards like craigslist. You can find a thousand knockoffs brand new for $15-20 on any given game marketplace. It has been for years my controller of choice 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're using a current-gen console.
Either way, if that remake of The Duke was for someone, this remake is for a lot larger group of someones. You can actually fit your hands around it, after all.