CES 2023 is proving that game controllers still have room to evolve

Controllers – love them or hate them, the fact is that they’re here to stay (and no, they’re not inherently worse than keyboard and mouse). With that said, let’s talk about three new controllers that were unveiled at CES 2023.

Concept Nyx

Dell’s 2023 Concept Nyx controller looks fairly unassuming at first glance, but this sleek controller actually has tons of extra features built in. For starters, there’s a fingerprint scanner embedded in the center button, because of course there is. With touch sensors integrated into the shoulder buttons, players can make trackpad-like movements to activate different assigned effects. If you’re someone that rebinds specific actions to the scroll wheel for whatever reason, you’re in luck. Dell gave us two scroll wheels to play with, just under the middle of the controller. There are also two shift keys on the back of the controller, which would be useful for in-game keybinds and desktop commands – or both! It’s strange, to say the least, but I can definitely see the appeal.

ROG Raikiri Pro

The ROG Raikiri Pro‘s main claim to fame is the OLED display placed right smack-dab in the middle of the controller. “Why would you need a screen on your controller?” you may find yourself asking – well for whatever you want really. It’s like having a mini-monitor right in front of you, use it for customization, a quick stat-check or even to… control the controller. Four programmable rear buttons and the optional selectable step triggers allow gamers to tweak their controls as they see fit. You can also tweak the sensitivity of the joystick, remap your buttons, and more with the help of ROG’s Armoury Crate software. Oh, and with tri-mode connectivity, the controller can pretty much be used with any device you choose.

ROG Raikiri Pro controller CES 2023
Gamer enough for you yet? Image by Asus

Project Leonardo

Saving the best for last, let’s talk about Sony’s Project Leonardo – a controller designed with accessibility as the goal.  Assumedly named after Leonardo da Vinci’s famed fighting vehicle design, Project Leonardo is Sony’s take on accessible controllers, similar to Xbox’s Adaptive Controller unveiled in October of 2022. With split edges, larger buttons, and the option to swap out components at will – Project Leonardo can be configured in many ways to account for and aid those who may be otherwise unable to use a standard gamepad. It’s always wonderful to see steps being made toward including those outside of the “norm” when it comes to gaming and to have giants like Sony and Microsoft at the helm is a good sign for what’s to come.

Sony Project Leonardo controller
I definitely see the da Vinci inspiration here. Image by Sony

Controllers are still evolving

With these innovations to controllers and more sure to come out in the near future, it’ll be interesting to see how companies choose to evolve their gamepads going forward. Maybe more keys are the way to go, or maybe we’ll see some new fancy technology come out that nobody was expecting. Whatever the case, the controllers showcased at CES 2023 are definitely a good sign of what’s to come.

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Kevin Dewan

SQUAD Editor in Chief. Runs after things a lot, won't BM you to your face, okay with losing as long as it's funny. Send questions/complaints/rants to kevin@northernarena.ca
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