Update: After just five days on Kickstarter, the Panda Controller has now amassed more than $1.2 million in funding from more than 9,000 backers. Wow.
Thanks to the incredible response, several stretch goals such as extended product warranties, a special documentary and limited edition shells for the controller have been unlocked. The campaign still has 25 days left to go if you're interested in securing your own controller.
Original Article (Thu 2nd Dec, 2021 11:00 GMT): The GameCube controller is one of the most popular controller designs ever released, so much so that Nintendo still releases special edition pads for Smash players to this day. Unlike Xbox and PlayStation's iconic controllers, though, the GameCube's has never been truly updated or refined to modern standards.
That's where the 'Panda Controller' comes in. Designed by Panda Hardware, this new controller hopes to offer players the modern, upgraded GameCube controller they've always hoped for. Using parts of the "highest quality" and coming packed with plenty of customisation options, this looks like it could be a very decent choice for pro players and those who still get plenty of use out of their old GameCube system.
We'd urge you to give the video below a watch if you want to see it in action.
A Kickstarter campaign for the project went live just yesterday with a goal of $100,000, a target that was absolutely demolished by eager customers within an hour. At the time of writing, the project has already raised more than $700,000 from over 5,500 backers – and there's still almost an entire month to go.
The controllers, which can be used with original GameCube hardware or with modern systems via USB, are expected to start shipping around December 2022, with the lowest tier costing $90; if you want to get your hands on one as early as possible, make sure to head on over to that Kickstarter page to learn more.
Think you'll be grabbing one of these? Do you like the design? Share your thoughts with us below.
Thanks to all who sent this in!
Go for white, always the best color choice for things that get touched a lot.
I still prefer PlayStation style controller for symmetrical analog button position.
@UglyCasanova just wait until the melee players get their hands on it!
Ah, the GCN controller design. Never bettered to this day. Comfortable, intuitive and almost perfectly laid out. Not surprised there's still so much demand for it.
It looks like it got a bath in yogurt...
@andykara2003 pro players do, especially for melee. they get ones with specific notches in the control stick gate for angling fox and falco upb at super tight increments. plus they requently need new controllers just cus they destroy them with how input intensive the game is
This controller looks super cool, tons of nice features! Definitely something for the more pro side of the user base, so i don't see much use for this right now, but i may pick one up later on if possible. Would really like to know how the plastic feels more than anything, cus if its something like most 3rd party controllers then its an immediate no.
Also wanna know what colours they offer at a later date. The black and white looks very dull to me.
@Matl Fair play - very interesting project. Hopefully they can match the feel of the original stick. No controller I’ve used since has lived up to it.
Looks like a great controller, with some nice extra features, but I wouldn't want it with the buttons, sticks, d-pad and body all the same white colour.
I would like a modern wavebird, what works on my Wii and Switch, but this thing looks way too complicated.
Shame its not Bluetooth enabled from the get go. You have to buy an add on for it to work wirelessly? Sorry but approx £68 for a wired controller? And doesnt even say how much the add on is.
No Thank You
@Bunkerneath really? All those features and they can't even get the basics.
Looks good but it's a shame the wireless addon doesn't allow you to use with Gamecube. I'll stick with my Wavebird for now. Maybe there could be another addon in future
@Pachrisu what? Doesn't work with GameCube wirelessly? I really don't see the point. I think you can get a 3rd party wavebird clone on taobao and amazon, I think I'll get one of those.
Nice idea, GC is my favourite controller although it lacks buttons for some modern games. I have dedicated Smash original controllers and 2 for all other games. They're still tight as a drum after 20 years! No drift, chunky rumble, dual purpose triggers, ingenious face button layout. Just looking at a GC controller makes me happy as does holding one.
Might consider this as I love retro controllers given a modern facelift like this. Although still have a perfect working Wavebird after all these years. Not that it has had much use since the later days of the Wii. Admittedly this will probably really be suited for the one Switch game because of the button layout.
The controller that I never knew I needed.
AA batteries or GTFO.
And $90? You can get wavebirds for that much.
@UglyCasanova my wife regrets going white
This looks way cooler than a wave bird.
Magnetic plates on front and back that are removable, incredible precision and user calibration with the built in tool to get exact readings to 3 decimal places, custom shoulder button heights, digital only, analog only or both, turn Dpad on/off, correct for analog snapback....
This thing is amazing. And it has Gyro aiming via gyroscope and accelerometer.
@JaxonH That all sounds lovely, but... AA batteries?
Wait til you have to change the batteries in a PS3, PS4, PS5, joycon etc in a few years. Major hassle, my Xbox 360 controllers & Wii motes suddenly seem progressive for sticking with AA cells...
I'd prefer a rechargeable pack, but I'm not sure how the wireless expansion works.
I was researching it the other day and watched all the videos on it. It's geared toward pro Melee gamers, with removable gates so they can easily carve notches and just replace the gates as needed.
That took me down a rabbit hole of pro modded GC controllers for Melee players, and they cost $250-400 and have custom motherboards to avoid snapback and notches carved, transducer error compensation, etc. Saw this for $90 and was like... woah. This blows all those other mods away, and for way less.
Totally, this ain't for the average gamer by far & won't seem worth it to all but the nerdiest
This looks very sleek and cool, and seems like a fair enough price for what they’re offering, especially in terms of high-end modded GCN controllers. However, as neat as this is, I can’t see myself ever grabbing one just because it’s so dang expensive, especially for a more casual player such as myself.
Anybody complaining about the price is pretty clearly not the target demographic. It's more of a comparison to the Xbox Elite controller if anything, and its especially a good deal compared to other modded controllers for $250++. For COMPETITIVE smash players, this is truly insane.
For anyone else, yes just buy a Wavebird. They are awesome and you won't regret it.
im not saying its not cool, it is.
but, there have been multiple modern updates to the gamecube controller. i own the one power A makes. it has bluetooth, an "L1 button," and capture and home buttons for switch. modernized.
also wtf with all the white plastic? its everywhere and its never good. have you seen game accessory bins at pawn shops and game stores? yuck! its not even great looking brand new, this one looks like they forgot to paint it or something.
ps- also not convinced that the gc controller is "one of the most popular controllers ever made." its a great one, it has a niche obv, but the competition is pretty strong in this category lol. is it even in the top 5 if you consider dualshock, xbox 360, SNES, 6 button "fighter" pads... ok maybe top 5 but thats not saying much. more popular than turbo grafx and genesis 3 button controllers ☺️
Counter argument; the D-pad is way too small and awkwardly placed. The C-stick is also too small for certain types of games.
The GC controller is simultaneously amazing and terrible. For the right type of game, there’s nothing better than it. For the wrong type of game though, it’s pretty much unusable (ever tried playing a 2D fighter with a GC controller?).
I can see why Nintendo moved on from this design.
The GameCube controller can’t possibly be one of the most popular controllers ever made because the GameCube itself was never popular.
I like has rumble but lack of NFC reader is a let down here. Going to spend at least 90 + shipping later should come with this feature as well.
Gosh, that looks like a dream!
Awesome, probably have to pick one up sometime.
@cjay_001 If I could find reasonably priced, brand new Wavebirds, I would. (But I’m not who your comment was directed at, as I’ll most likely be picking up one of these Panda controllers.)
Shoulder triggers still look crap.
I had to clue on pieces of wood in the C-shaped "finger grooves" to be able to use them.
@UglyCasanova I've put almost 800 hours into Ultimate using my white GCN controller, and it still looks pristine. It's not hard to keep your hands clean...
I think if it was no different than other controllers I'd agree. But this thing is super advanced, super precise. The level of pro customization is insane. And that's where the cost is coming from. Plus it's low quantity production and doesn't benefit from the low cost big brands get by making millions.
90 bucks is to expensive. The new console controllers don’t cost near that. Also it is a third party controller which will probably have many issues. They are trying to add so much to the original design I believe it will hinder the actual use of it along with all the bugs it’ll probably have. A magnetic cover with one screw holding it in place, yea nothing will go wrong there. Just to many issues with this period.
Also who would pay 10 bucks just to support this and get only a poster? That’s a completely unrealistic donation in my personal opinion. As for the controller itself, I will wait and see the reviews and catch it on a half off sale on Amazon sometime. Until then my GameCube controllers work perfectly fine and getting parts is not at all hard and it is very easy to work on, ohh and I have 6 of them so I think I’m good for awhile.
I find it odd Nintendo did not shut this down. No pattern from gamecube is involved ?
A wireless module sold separately for $40. A Bluetooth module that can be embedded costs only $2 when ordered in bulk. Highly disappointed that it’s not integrated - this isn’t for me.
target market: broads in Atlanta
broadly, i tend to agree, but i would also add that the enduring amd possibly expanding popularity of the controller for a system that was fairly unpopular and short lived is something special. its possibly the most popular graded on a curve, id say.
its also a third pillar, considering every other controller is either a six button sega pad or four button snes pad, with sticks and triggers added.
@BlubberWhale It was directed at people complaining about a product that isn't for them lol. I've been following the Smash scene for a while and am pretty stoked for this controller, even if I'm not personally gonna get one. I've been following Panda for a while and know that real Smash pros have spent hours testing these to get them right. But I don't get why people are upset that an option for more features is available for those who want it.
Oooh. I might back it. While I don't play competetive smash anymore, this could be a nice thing to have
@cjay_001 Exactly, I agree there’s no reason for people to be upset about this. Controller looks pretty good. I guess I was just randomly commenting that I also like the Wavebird lol
The stick is based on the stickboxes used in the 2007 JP white, and the smash bros controllers for Wii U and ultimate. So it will probably feel like those
@sailornic I think the patents on the og gamecube controller might have expired? I'm not sure, there were tons of third partys back in the GC era so patents might not even cover it. But Panda is also partnering with nintendo for their own circuit so maybe they get a pass either way?
@Meteoroid They said you can play it on switch over USB, but if you want wireless you gotta buy an expansion pack.
@KK64 Interesting, thanks. In what way are these different to the original controllers, Are the original sticks considered to be superior?
Looks neat, can you change the right stick to a "normal" one like the left one? Might get it for PC in that case.
Are smash players obliged to use standard official controllers for competitions or can they use unofficial ones?
Almost regret selling my Wavebird, it was the best. But I was hardly using it at the time and sold it for £90 cash boxed. That and my Zelda Wii U basically paid for my Switch. Was a worthwhile trade.
@themightyant Sold my Wavebird many years ago... never been able to fill that hole in my heart...
No Bluetooth support built in. Meaning you have to use a wire to play on Switch. Or pay an unknown price for the rumored addon.
$90 for the "base model"
No price given for add-ons.
"Just trust us dude" marketing.
Hard pass. I'll wait for reviews and the eventual bargain bin price drop.
I often chose to stay away from other companies when buying controllers and accessories, because most of the time, having that 1st-party product means better quality. All except Joy Cons, that is.
6 month warranty as a stretch goal...
Hard pass. Fair warranty as standard and a legal right.
I've never understood the fetishisation of the GC controller but good for people that want a more modern version of it
Eh, I prefer the xbox controller. Preferably the newest iteration. The D-pad feels fantastic! GC's d-pad was always too small which is a pain for people with big hands.
So it can be played on Switch, but only wired?
Wow there are a lot of professional smash players now.
That d-pad looks like it will feel awful to use. Even more so than the actual GCN controller d-pad.
They're going to sell expansion packs that slot in, one of which is a wireless expansion pack which makes it wireless on Switch and PC.
Shipping in a year?
Not surprised really, in all honesty I feel this is the kind of controller design Nintendo should have stuck with after the Gamecube. I felt the Wii Classic controller pro was functional it wasn't as good as using a Wavebird if you had access to one. The Wii U Pro controller was awful with its stick and button layout and I could never get used to it and the current Switch Pro controller is very good overall it leans on being just a generic controller. While this layout take a little adjusting for some games it would still easily work and be the return of those fantastic shoulder buttons, still I can dream.
This looks like the controller of my dreams. Too bad I'll never own one.
"No Bluetooth support built in. Meaning you have to use a wire to play on Switch. Or pay an unknown price for the rumored addon." - On the Kickstarter page, add the controller to your cart, you'll see the pricing options for the add ons. Wireless pack, which is Bluetooth for Switch and PC, is 30 dollars.
"$90 for the "base model"" - The features this controller offers, if modded to a regular GameCube controller, would be roughly 200-300 dollars. This is intended to serve as an elite controller instead of a standard controller.
"No price given for add-ons." - See my first comment. Off the top of my head, 30 for wireless add on, 25 for the travel case, and 20 for the Pro Shell.
""Just trust us dude" marketing." - Panda Global is a grassroots organization within the Smash Community, they started out small and slowly expanded. They have been developing the controller for the last 3 years, much to the annoyance of those who wanted updates and to know more on the progress of the controller. Now, they're ready to go live with it, have uploaded at least 3 videos about it, breaking down how it works. Controller is polled for inputs 2,000 times per second, and has built in adjustments to be fine tuned for issues such as snapback. At the end of the day, it is "just trust us" marketing until it can be independently verified, after all companies fake videos all the time. However, a company really shouldn't spend 5-6 years building trust within a community and then try to scam them for cash. That's how the brand never recovers, which is the exact opposite of how Panda has been operating.
"Hard pass. I'll wait for reviews and the eventual bargain bin price drop." - Entirely your choice, just don't expect it to drop to bargain bin prices. This isn't a Hori or PDP Controller, it's not going to be worth 10 dollars. It's a premium GameCube controller for those in the market for one, for those already willing to pay at times 500 dollars for a controller with extra features primarily to play a 20 year old platform fighter.
@andykara2003 They can use unofficial ones. There are some guidelines on what is allow though I believe.
@Knuckles A thorough explanation. Thanks.
There are going to be a lot of unhappy people when this releases I bet. I see it not living up to expectations and having most likely firmware issues and build and design issues. Again the magnetic cover alone I think will be an issue plus it’s extremely expensive. At that price I’ll buy a Xbox elite controller.
So this controller is really just geared toward Smash players, correct (or original Gamecube games in general)? I'm guessing it's not particularly practical for other stuff, due to the unique Gamecube controller button layout. Because man, that thing looks really good, high quality, and comfortable. But I'm not a Smash player, and would really just want to use it for other stuff, like instead of my Switch Pro controller - which likely wouldn't be practical.
Still, looks great, and I hope Smash players enjoy it!
If this works even on the Switch is a must for me.
The original stick is the best I've ever used by a good margin - I wonder in they've managed to match it here.
@sailornic I'm no lawyer, but the GCN is 20 years old, so my guess would be the patents have expired at this point.
The controller looks so class. I want one.
It's cancelled now as their manufacturing partner had problems and they couldn't guarantee they would met the december 2022 goal for delivery. So they decided to cancel the kick-starterfor now while they seek other options.
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