Mad Catz shows off MLG Pro controller at CES, for the discerning button pusher

A controller is a controller is a controller. The most innovative additions to console controllers these days usually involve an extra turbo switch, or maybe a fan in the handles.

Mad Catz' new MLG Pro Circuit Controller stands out, and was first shown off at CES 2012 last week. Mad Catz worked with Major League Gaming players and other gamers to figure out just what it is they wanted a controller to do, and rather than just add some new lights (or those fans), they took a few good steps forward.

The analogue sticks and D-pads are fully removable and customizable, and the controller comes with all sorts of possibilities. With this controller, you can implement the layout you want.


The controller comes with little plug-in joysticks in both Xbox and PS3 flavors (you can see above that the PS3 joystick is convex, while Xbox is concave), and both styles of D-pad. Those joysticks can be removed and plugged in wherever you want, so you can have two D-pads and a stick, two joysticks in the middle, PlayStation-style, or one joystick high and low, like the Xbox. The other buttons can't be customized; they come to match whichever system you're using.

Mad Catz also says other plug-in modules are coming, so players will be able to choose a variety of colors and module types, including joysticks with more sensitivity or other button layouts as they're developed.

There's no wireless version, as Mad Catz said MLG's players didn't want the extra lag, small as it may be. And the cable on the controller uses a special twist-lock connection that can be undone for moving the controller around. The controller also uses magnetic faceplates which can be switched out to customize the look (gloss or matte options come with the initial purchase, with presumably more to come). There is a small compartment on the back with room for a series of weights, so players can make the controller as hefty or as light as needed.

Finally, there's one software tweak as well: Some MLG players didn't like the few games on PS3 that used the top R1 button instead of the lower trigger to fire a weapon, so the controller can switch the bumper and trigger button functions right on the controller itself. That's a small feature, but it does show how much Mad Catz chose to focus on specific player interests for this one.

A controller is a controller, it's true. Pressing X on this one is more or less the same as pressing X on any other controller, including the one you already got with the console you bought. But Mad Catz' work here is pretty impressive, and the option to choose which joysticks you're playing with and where they are on the controller is worth consideration. The MLG Pro Circuit Controller is available for pre-order now at $99.99.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.