Major League Gaming’s CEO, Sundance DiGiovanni, shed some more light on the production status of their upcoming Madcatz controller. On his new show, The FAQ, @JoshuaKrazeR asked, “when are we going to receive updates on the MLG Madcatz controller, are they still coming?” Sundance’s response:
“They’ll be in Raleigh. If you come to Raleigh, Madcatz is going to be there with a booth. They are going to have a special MLG product for sale that’s not the controller, but the controller will be there for people to see. I’ve had one recently in my possession and I think they are pretty sick. It’s going to be an expensive controller, but it’s going to be worth it for a number of reasons. It’s going to have a higher level of customer support than you’re used to seeing, high level of customization, and the Playstation 3 version and the Xbox version are the same form factor so they look and feel the same no matter what platform you are playing on. The Playstation folks that say the controller isn’t good for shooters, this one will fix that, but Raleigh — it’ll be there. It was going to be at E3, but we made some design changes to increase the quality of the product so now it’s Raleigh.”
Puckett also chimed in and said that he tested the controller and it’s awesome.
MLG Madcatz Discussion (8:30 – 9:30)
After digesting what was said about the controller, it reminded me of an article I wrote back in May of last year about various third party gaming manufacturers getting into the console market. I would have much rather preferred Astro Gaming getting into the controller market to design this controller, like my article suggested, however based on what Sundance stated, I believe Madcatz is taking the Astro approach with this controller. According to Sundance, the controller is going to be a high quality, high price product with a high level of customer service and a booth at MLG events. Sound eerily familir to Astro Gaming’s approach back in 2008? It was a strategic, well-played move to get gaming’s biggest “influencers” the A40 headset we’ve all come to love . With that in mind, one can only assume that the MLG controller will be in a wide variety of gaming and electronics stores because Madcatz is such a large third party manufacturer, but will gaming’s influential players buy into the product?
The two things that stuck out to me the most were the mentions regarding the price point which was said to be “expensive,” and that there is going to be a “high level of customization.” I think the price point intrigues me because I believe the premium controller market is essentially an untapped space. There are smaller companies out there that are providing custom designed Xbox 360/PS3 controllers in the price range of $60 – $120 dollars (yeah people are paying $120 for controllers) that paint your existing controller and maybe fix slow turn or add a mod here or there. I’ve made this point before, but if people are paying $120 for a paint job on the same controller they play with everyday; why not offer them a new, brand name controller aka “MLG,” that addresses some of those concerns, but offers an improved experience? On the professional level a controller is like your sword, it’s a very personal attachment and I think people will pay a premium price to truly make it their own.
Let’s face it, the market has been filled with third party junk for ages, mostly from the same company MLG is working with, ironic I know, yet I find myself remaining optimistic about this controller. I have to ask myself to what degree can we expect a “high level of customization” for the Madcatz controller? And what about Madcatz reputation for producing trashy, non-fighting game related, controllers? Madcatz has done a good job with the fighting game community and I believe they have a redefined purpose of producing quality products, but their reputation for bad far exceeds the good. Certainly some of the design aesthetics will borrow from the only other good third-party controller, and currently my personal preference, in the Razer Onza. There are definitely some things holding the Onza back from greatness, mainly due to the number of defects that have been popping up from other Onza owners. I did an early feedback article to assess how people were liking the Onza controller, and it seemed like malfunctions were disappointing a number of people. Despite the negative comments here and there, I think the Onza definitely got the ball rolling in the right direction and let’s remember, MLG was initially making plans to work with Razer — not Madcatz. In all likelihood, Major League Gaming looked at some of the design ideas they contributed to the Onza, that may not have panned out too well, and improved upon them with this upcoming Madcatz controller. We’ll likely find out some detailed information at MLG Raleigh, but I hope that above all else this is a high QUALITY product, not just a high level of customization.
What Can We Expect?
Triggers Made for Shooters
More Mechanical Buttons
Same Form Factor regardless of Console
I do not want to speak to much on what I believe the controller will bring to the table. I’m much more interested to test it out for myself when the time comes. I am still optimistic about other companies entering the “premium” controller market — Steelseries and Astro have yet to make a move. Steelseris seems to have much more interest in Console gaming and they’ve always seemed like a rival to Razer. A controller might be a smart decision on their part. Astro’s recent acquisition by Skullcandy could allow them to focus on a controller, but they may not want to compete with MLG on this one. MLG had the right idea when they initially starting working with Razer on the Onza; I’m sure that Raleigh’s MLG/Madcatz controller unveil is going to turn a lot of heads.