A Breakdown Of The Nintendo Switch’s New Controllers

A Breakdown Of The Nintendo Switch’s New Controllers

Nintendo’s 2017-slated Switch console will offer a competitive controller that seems to draw from Nintendo’s old GameCube controller as well as the Xbox’s. This is exciting for Wii U players who have long complained about the Wii U Pro controller’s layout. Here’s a breakdown of what’s interesting about the coming Switch pro controller:

Like an Xbox controller, the Switch’s pro controller will situate its joysticks on a diagonal rather than a horizontal axis. On the Switch, the second analogue stick will be on the bottom right. This frees up the top right side of the controller for button-mashing — buttons that, like the Wii U Pro’s, Xbox’s and PS4’s, are in a diamond shape.

It’s a good idea on a few fronts. The Switch pro controller’s joysticks will resemble a GameCube controller’s, which competitive Super Smash Bros. players still use ten years after the GameCube’s release. It’s clunky to move your right thumb to the bottom right of the controller to use a attack buttons — or at least, counter-intuitive. Smash Bros. fans used to “Smash” attacks on the “C” stick — a la GameCube — will be pleased with the change.

GameCube Controller

GameCube Controller
Also, now that titles like Skyrim are making their way to the Nintendo Switch, its pro controller’s nod to the Xbox controller layout will make the adjustment easy for Xbox users (sorry, PS4!).

Xbox One controller

Xbox One controller
Aside from the joysticks and buttons, the Switch’s competitive controller has four, instead of three, buttons in its center: a plus button, a minus button, a home button and a mystery circle button. The first three are on the Wii U Pro. The final one is difficult to discern in the Switch trailer, though some speculate that it’s a “sync” or a “share” button.

The Switch’s Joy-Con controllers, on each side of the Joy-Con Grip, are also interesting. It’s got four triggers, as is standard at this point. When removed for portable use, those controllers only have one joystick each and no D pad. They’re really tiny. The plus and minus buttons are literally in those shapes, instead of printed on circle buttons, which is a cute detail.

Curiously, those joysticks are raised, unlike the one on the Nintendo 3DS:

The Nintendo Switch’s portable console paired with its promising new pro controller (and, hopefully, a great new Super Smash Bros. game) is fighting game gold. There’s a lot of innovation happening here and it seems like Nintendo has been listening to feedback from its user-base. So, why was the Switch trailer parading Splatoon as its lead esports title?


  • Wait. You mean you’re not even going to go into the part where the mini controllers slide out and do their own thing? And have shoulder buttons concealed within the sliding mechanism? “Curiously, those joysticks are raised, unlike the one on the Nintendo 3DS” is your greatest insight – are you trying to say that those are circle pads rather than joysticks? And then questioning Splatoon is just… ugh my head.

    • Kotaku is a bunch of stuff you just have to accept. At no point do they collectively seem to understand what frustrates people about them. It’s simply a lack of depth resulting in wierd simplistic messages that make sense in a conceptual vaccuum but don’t at all when compared with reality. This article is frustrating because compared with the information that COULD be discussed, it’s a teardrop of relevance in an ocean of information. However, just by itself it’s a little insight into a few things the writer noticed. It’s very hard to have to constantly tell myself Kotaku doesn’t care about reality, though and accept it for what they want it to be when i can just get a rounded view one click away.

      • I know this, but for some reason feel the need to get uppity on the newer writers like more than the older ones I’m used to the antics of.

    • Thank you so much for posting this.

      It keeps me up at night that someone was paid to pen an article that misses the entire fucking point.

  • It’s symptomatic of the way they’ve unveiled it I think why I’m a bit all over the shop.

    I want to know more. I’m no closer to understanding then I was when I was listening to inane circlejerk podcasts speculate.

    The trailer was meant to pop, and it has. It’s being talked about across the spectrum.

    I love the ‘Joy-Con’ name. The Pro controller this time around looks the goods.

    But so many questions!

  • No actual dPad is a very interesting move, but required since both controllers can become their own thing and need to be the same

  • I hope the WiiU Pro controller is also compatible, just to save me from having to buy an extra one.

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