Xbox Creator on the Origins of the ‘Duke’ Controller

When it first released, the “Duke” controller for the Xbox was ridiculed for its abnormally meaty size, considering almost every controller that had come before it. Though it’s come back into style with its re-release by hardware manufacturer Hyperkin, it was stirring fear and uncertainty in the minds of people like Seamus Blackley, who wrote the original proposal for the Xbox.

“The Duke controller is the way it is because of how big companies work,” Blackley says, referring to the management structure of large companies like Microsoft allowing all levels of management to have input on the Xbox’s initial prototyping and development. Blackley was busy trying to secure a hard drive to put in the console and ethernet port, as well as courting Japanese developers, so direction of the controller was tasked to another department.

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