Original Xbox’s Controller Was ‘Embarrassingly Huge,’ Says Co-Creator
‘You can land a helicopter on it.’
Before Microsoft struck gold with the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers, arguably the best and most perfect console controllers ever made, they had the Duke. The Duke was the first controller that Microsoft released for the original Xbox, and it was a disaster. Not only was the button layout a mess (Microsoft adopted a six button layout), but it was also so big that most people had trouble holding the damn thing.
Seamus Blackley, co-creator of the first Xbox, recently let loose at the controller in a series of tweets on Twitter. “It was embarrassingly enormous; politically I had no juice to fix it,” he said. “They ignored focus tests; I understand you can land a helicopter on it,” he said.
“The guy in charge of the controller picked a vendor that couldn’t make the electronics small, so they made the design huge to fit around it,” he said, explaining why the Duke was so big. He did note, correctly, that it was not the only big controller at the time. “The Dreamcast was our favorite console at the time, and it had a big controller that docked a tomagachi. So that made it seem less insane!”
Blackley went on to note that the controller was eventually miniaturized- which was mostly for the Japanese release, where the massive controller would have made the Xbox a hard sell. That miniaturized Xbox controller went on to become the precursor for the Xbox 360 controller, so in the end, some good came of it.