In the first full week of October two major public facing events were being held in two of the major cities on the US coasts: TwitchCon in the ever sunny San Diego and New York Comic Con in New Yor…wait, wait, wait! This doesn’t even line up, NYCC happened on the 2nd week of October and TwitchCon happened a week after. This year’s fall showcase happened in the same venue, the same suite and I’m pretty sure some products I’ve definitely seen before. So while it’s a bit of a deja vu for me, when PDP calls I’ll answer the call, especially since one of their products bailed me out when I needed a controller the most.
The first product line discussed was the Afterglow Wave controllers. These are the controllers with programmable LED lights that are available on the Xbox Series X|S and the Switch. It’s available in wired and wireless options, although I would recommend splurging for the wireless versions as the price difference is negligible and the battery life is pretty impressive per charge. For the Xbox line, you can tweak settings on the company’s PC or Xbox App, for Nintendo, because Nintendo has to be well…Nintendo, configuration has to be done on the controller and the lighting options therefore are limited when compared to their Xbox brethren (Soapbox time…the company allowed (for a while) a game where you drunk drive on their digital storefront, but won’t allow a simple utility from their licensed partner onto their digital storefront…is wild!).
The rep showed us some new updates with the controllers, specifically 2 lighting options and 1 new activation option. Upflow and Downflow join the existing 6 existing profiles, allowing your assigned colors to trickle upward or downward. Mic activation allows for the lighting effects to be triggered via your voice…I guess this would be helpful if you’re a parent monitoring their child, using the light to determine the volume of your child’s voice, but honestly that’s quite the reach. These options are available to all the Xbox Afterglow controllers and perhaps one day PDP will allow the Switch controllers to be managed by the PDP Control Hub on the PC…cause the Switch Afterglows are detectable by the PC.
For those who opt for style and affordability, the Rematch line might be something you’d contemplate. PDP’s product designers also go to town with these, as these features graphics, designs that could be confused for official products. The Nintendo line of these controllers lean on the company’s iconic characters such as Mario and Link, the Xbox versions are a bit more esoteric, but I certainly wouldn’t be above owning designs like this sakura or paint splash. A gimmick which isn’t game changing, but appreciated nonetheless is that some of these controllers dubbed the Rematch Glow actually feature elements which glow in the dark. Will this feature help you kill the last boss, absolutely not, but does it look cool? Absolutely.
Doubling back on affordability and aesthetics PDP also offers a combo for certain designs which pairs a rematch controller with an airlite headset or a carrying case for switch. These combos tend to retail about $30 to $60 dollars and feature only wired accessories. I hope that PDP will open up the options in the future and perhaps allow for mixing and matching for those wild people who accessorizing isn’t the most pressing matter.
The 3rd pillar of the showcase was REALMz, the controllers/headsets which feature a figurine inside them, something I had a hands on during PAX West. The items shown were more of less the same as the products seen at Seattle, however I did the “look at the bottom of the feet of these figurines” bit with the other attendees of the showcase…lowkey being a unpaid marketing person for the brand, but when you go out of your way to include treads on figurines that you won’t really interact with, I’m gonna point out those details every time! Discussions of new licenses were mentioned, as well a possible physical game + REALMz controller combo for an upcoming release was alluded to. All and all I’m just keeping my eye on the line and waiting for them to nab the right license before I plunge into the world of REALMz.
Victrix, their arcade/premium brand, was somewhat light on content. We got to see the Call of Duty Pro BFG controller…and a Call of Duty Rematch controller also snuck into that portion. However the thing that got me most excited was the reveal that new modules were coming for the Pro BFG controllers. For the uninitiated the appeal of the Pro BFG were swappable modules that would allow you to change the positive of sticks/d-pads or switch from a 4 to 6 face button configuration. The new module would be an Hall Effect analog stick, something which will not suffer from drift or wear and tear like conventional analog sticks. They will be sold in packs of 2 and will retail for about $40…which in the scheme of things isn’t that expensive. Although I’m still waiting for membrane style six face button modules…but I guess I need to start a petition.org campaign to get some real interest going.
So it was great to see the fine folks of PDP and the products they are bringing to the market. The company has definitely helped turn my opinion of 3rd party accessories around and from the looks of it they’ll continue to push me further in the positive direction. My hope for the company is that they can establish some sort of analog to Microsoft’s Xbox Design Lab as the company’s approach to design is top notch (I’m chomping at the bit to get ahold of the copper colored controller they showed in one of their slides). They’re truly putting out some Performance Designed Products!