When Nintendo Switch debuted back in 2017, its portable form-factor was arguably its most compelling feature. The thought of taking top-tier Nintendo games on-the-go while still retaining a physical controller excited tons of fans, including myself.
Fast-forward to 2019 and one of the biggest Switch complaints is how uncomfortable it can be to use Joy-Con controllers outside of quick gaming sessions. With today’s unveiling of the Hori Grip, Switch owners may soon have a way to more comfortably embrace portable gaming.
Hori Grip: Comfortable and portable gaming
Shortly after E3 2019, Hori has shown off a beefier alternative to Nintendo Joy-Con controllers. Hori Grip shares features seen in Nintendo’s more traditional Switch controller, largely mimicking its thicker and more ergonomic gaming experience.
Hori Grip is made to pair with the upcoming shooter, DAEMON X MACHINA. As we’ve seen with several other game-inspired controllers, Hori Grip has a color scheme that resembles DAEMON X MACHINA artwork.
Not only does Hori’s new controller feature a larger and more ergonomic design, it also sports a traditional D-pad and turbo button. A button on the rear side of each controller can be mapped as any other Switch button, allowing players to customize their gaming experience.
While Hori Grip does add quite a few features, it also misses out on a few things that Joy-Con users may take for granted. First off, these controllers cannot connect wirelessly. This means they will need to be physically attached to the Switch to function. Additionally, HD rumble, NFC, IR, a gyro sensor, and accelerometer are not on-board. In many games this won’t be a problem, but some popular titles utilize these technologies.
Pricing and availability
If you live outside of Japan, prepare to be displeased. The Hori Grip will debut in Japan only at launch with a price of 4,780 yen (under $45). Hori Grip is slated to ship in September 2019 (just like DAEMON X MACHINA), giving the company plenty of time to delight fans with the announcement of a wider release.
Without a doubt the most disappointing part regarding today’s announcement has got to be the limited availably of Hori Grip. Considering that Hori already sells loads of gaming gear in the US, it’s sad to see the company pass up the opportunity for a broader release.
A more comfortable gaming experience is something that every player appreciates. Assuming that Hori Grip never makes its way to more countries, we hope that its existence pushes competitors like PDP, PowerA, or 8bitdo, to debut something similar. I, for one, would happily fork over $60 for such a product.
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