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Panda Global raises over $500k in eight hours to crowdfund "next evolution" of the GameCube controller

The esports org will start shipping the Panda Controller in December 2022.
Panda Global raises over $500k in eight hours to crowdfund "next evolution" of the GameCube controller

Released in November 2001, the Nintendo GameCube was undeniably an underwhelming piece of hardware in terms of sales for the Japanese company, ranking as one of their worst-performing of all time -- but its legacy far exceeds what anyone could have imagined 20 years later. 

With an iconic and ergonomic design, the GameCube controller continues being used (and sold) to this day, with Nintendo, as well as third parties, making good money on the peripheral. 

The biggest reason for the NGC controller's continuing relevance is thanks, in part, to the Smash competitive scene, whether that be Melee or Ultimate. The button scheme fits nicely with Smash gameplay, regardless of iteration, and while plenty of options exists to enjoy the platform fighter at both casual and high-level (Pro Controller or a Smashbox to name a couple), nothing beats the feeling of holding the 20-year-old controller provides. 

As hardware development progressed, the GameCube controller has become kind of obsolete for anything other than Smash and a handful of titles ported to the Switch, lacking some basic functionality seen on other devices. 

gamecube controller panda
The Panda Controller aims to be the ultimate device for Smash players. (Picture: Panda Global)

Most importantly, for Smash competitors, the rough usage paired with scarcer repair parts means that each time they're required to get a new GameCube controller, it usually comes with a steep price -- enter, Panda Global. 

The Panda Controller, designed by PGHardware, aims to be a solution to many of the community's problems, with their revised riff on the classic controller hoping to be what Smash players were dreaming of. 

Borrowing Nintendo's initial recognisable design, the Panda Controller builds upon the core by adding extra shoulder buttons, custom length triggers, customisable magnetic shells, and more.

On top of that, the controller is designed for both wired and wireless use, able to connect to PC or Nintendo Switch via the Wireless Pack or using a USB-C cable that has both USB and NGC cords on the other end. 

Of course, the Panda Controller offers much more than the basic features we just mentioned, with CEO Alan Bunnéy explaining that a dedicated team of modders, pros, and even casual fans had input on the design.

panda controller
The Panda Controller boasts and incredible amount of features. (Picture: Panda Global)

"The GameCube controller enthusiast is the most critical of any controller group in the world and their standards of excellence are the absolute highest. We spent an incredible amount of work trying to evolve not just the GameCube controller but the controller game as a whole, and the world has never seen a controller like the Panda Controller."

Panda raises over $500k for new controller

In just a matter of hours following Panda's Kickstarter reveal, fans quickly smashed (no pun intended) initial expectations, making the campaign surge past $500k.

As a result, some of the campaign's goals were met, these include shipping every Panda Controller with a Weight Pack so players can make their device feel as hefty or light as they want, the USB-C to USB and NGC cables being braided, the ability to buy individual parts down the line, and more. 

Where to buy the Panda Controller and release date

panda controller price
The Panda Controller will have a cost of $90. (Picture: Panda Global)

You can head out to Panda's Kickstarter campaign and donate $90 to get your Panda Controller. The price does not include shipping, with more information expected in the near future. The campaign will be ending on 30th December.

According to the current timeline shared by Panda, the controller should start shipping in December 2022.


For more on all things Smash Ultimate, check out our dedicated section filled with news, tournament results, and more.

Featured image courtesy of Panda Global.