|Type||Video game controller|
|Connectivity||Xbox controller port|
|Successor||Xbox 360 controller|
The Xbox controller is the primary game controller for Microsoft's Xbox home video game console and was introduced at the Game Developers Conference in 2000. The first-generation Xbox controller (nicknamed "The Duke") was the first controller bundled with Xbox systems for all territories except Japan. A smaller and redesigned variant, called "Controller S", was sold and bundled with the console in Japan. It was later released in other territories and by the end of 2003 had replaced the first-generation controller worldwide. The larger original controller remained available as an optional accessory.
The Xbox controller features dual vibration motors, two analog triggers, two analog sticks (both are also digitally clickable buttons), a digital directional pad, a Back button, a Start button, two accessory slots and six 8-bit analog action buttons (A/Green, B/Red, X/Blue, Y/Yellow, and Black and White buttons).
When the physical design of the controller began, circuit boards for the controller had already been manufactured. Microsoft had asked their supplier, Mitsumi Electric, for a similar folded and stacked circuit board design used in Sony's DualShock 2 controller, but the company refused to manufacture such a design for Microsoft. This led to the controller being bulky and nearly three times the size of Sony's controller. This initial controller design was never launched in Japan, where the console instead launched with a smaller, redesigned version named "Controller S" that did use the more compact circuit board design.
Seamus Blackley was a video game developer for Xbox and helped design an early prototype controller. The first-generation Xbox controller, originally nicknamed the "Fatty" and later "The Duke", was originally the controller bundled with Xbox systems for all territories except Japan. According to Blackley, the Duke name came from Brett Schnepf, the project manager of hardware for Microsoft during the Xbox's development, whose son was named Duke.
The controller was oversized and was not very well received. While the product was being announced some audience members threw objects at Blackley on stage. The controller has been criticized for being bulky compared to other video game controllers; it was awarded "Blunder of the Year" by Game Informer in 2001, a Guinness World Record for the biggest controller in Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2008, and was ranked the second worst video game controller ever by IGN editor Craig Harris.
Over fifteen years later Seamus Blackley contacted Phil Spencer, the head of the Xbox division, and pitched an idea to revive the old controller, following a series of joking posts through social media that showed strong consumer desire for the controller. Spencer gave Blackley the rights to the Duke controller. The original design was modified with some subtle changes to the bumper design, shoulder buttons and overall layout to make it compatible with the Xbox One, as well as an OLED screen that displays the original Xbox boot sequence when turned on. The Duke was released for Xbox One and PC on April 30, 2018 through a partnership with Hyperkin.
The "Controller S" (codenamed "Akebono") is smaller and lighter, designed for users with smaller hands. After the original controller had received much criticism, and initial sales of the Xbox were very low, the "Controller S" was later released in other territories by popular demand and in 2002 replaced the first-generation controller in the US Xbox's retail package, and Europe in 2003, with the larger original controller remaining available as an accessory.
An 8 MB removable solid state memory card can be plugged into the controller in a manner similar to that of the Dreamcast's VMU. Game saves can either be copied from the hard drive when in the Xbox dashboard's memory manager or saved during a game whenever the memory card is inserted. Most Xbox game saves can be copied to the memory unit and moved to another console but some Xbox saves are digitally signed; each console has a unique signing key, and some games (e.g. Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball) will not load saved games signed by a different Xbox, limiting the utility of the memory card. Some game saves can be tagged as uncopyable (like Burnout 3: Takedown) or simply padded to over 8 MB (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic). The signing mechanism has been reverse-engineered by the Xbox hacking community, who have developed tools to modify savegames to work in a different console, though the signing key of the recipient Xbox (the "HDkey") and the ramped-up title key of the game (the "authkey") must be known.
It is also possible to save an Xbox Live account on a memory unit, to simplify its use on more than one Xbox.
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the original "Fatty" Xbox controller didn't have a specific public name
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Anyone who purchased the original Xbox during its launch window quickly came to know its behemoth of a controller, now nicknamed "The Duke".
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Hi, I’m Amy Stevenson, the official Microsoft archivist. Need a CD-ROM of 500 Nations? An ActiMates doll? An old Duke controller from the original Xbox? I've got 'em all, right here in these boxes. Explore the Microsoft Archives here.
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- Good, Owen S. (March 10, 2018). "The Dukes return to Xbox redeems the original designer". Polygon. Retrieved March 11, 2018.