8BitDo unveils customizable Arcade Stick controller for Nintendo Switch and PC

8BitDo Arcade Stick hero

After debuting a new xCloud controller earlier this summer, today we are getting our first look at the new 8BitDo Arcade Stick. Along with a retro design sensibility, the new arcade-style controller features a particularly customizable and modern setup. Suitable for both hardcore fighting game pros and enthusiasts with a penchant for arcade controllers, the new 8BitDo Arcade Stick is now up for pre-order. Head below for more details and a closer look.

8BitDo is of the premiere third-party gaming peripheral makers out there. That includes some of the best Switch gear — look no further than the Sn30 Pro+ Bluetooth Gamepad and those NES-style gamepads  not made by Nintendo, and it is now ready to unleash is next-generation arcade model. With a number of major enhancements over its older N30 arcade pad, the latest 8BitDo Arcade Stick adds a long list of notable and customizable new features to the mix.

8BitDo Arcade Stick:

You’re basically looking at a large arcade-style gamepad with a joystick, eight face buttons, and a series of system controls, along with the p1 and p2 macro buttons in the top right corner. It connects to your gaming system of choice — Nintendo Switch or a PC in this case — over Bluetooth, a USB-C cable, or via the wireless 2.4G receivers 8BitDo has been sourcing for quite a while. A built-in and rechargeable 1000 mAh battery adds a level of portability to the device, allowing for gamers to throw in a backpack and take it just about anywhere your PC or Switch might take you. 8BitDo cites 40 hours of playtime on a 2.4g connection and about 30 hours on Bluetooth with four-hour charging time.

A quick flip of a switch along the top of the machine will automatically alter the Arcade Stick’s dynamic button layout and “X-input mode” instantly. That means you can switch between your Nintendo and PC button maps instantaneously and the LED-equipped panel behind the face buttons will update with the proper button labels accordingly.

Before we dive into the 8BitDo Arcade Stick’s software customization options, we should also mention its universal mounting plate. 8BitDo has designed its new gamepad with the ability for pros to flip out the joystick and buttons with models from other brands (also using the same universal mounting method).

8BitDo Ultimate Software:

But the integration with 8BitDo Ultimate Software is where the particularly bespoke nature of this device starts to shine. From here, you have “control over every piece of your arcade stick.” That includes custom button mapping and the creation of “macros with any button combination.” But you’ll also find a pair of dedicated macro buttons and the ability to create controller profiles you can switch between at any time. You can even switch the joystick’s functionality to that of a D-pad or even a left or right analog thumbstick.

The new 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Nintendo Switch and Windows is now up for pre-order on Amazon at $89.99. It is expected to begin shipping on October 20, 2020.

9to5Toys’ Take:

While you will find somewhat comparable options from HORI and others in the $50 range, the level of customization on those models doesn’t seem to be quite as deep. And in most cases, the kinds of gamers that like these specialty gamepads also appreciate the bespoke button mapping. The new 8BitDo Arcade Stick tends to look the part a bit more than its competition as well with an almost NES meets vintage PAL-region SNES controller look to it at a glance. Having said that, the other options are certainly still worth a look if the aesthetics and customization options on the 8BitDo model aren’t getting you excited.

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