Innovation is the cornerstone
of the third party peripheral market. Each company tries to exploit new materials and
manufacturing techniques to create a product that every gamer will want to buy. That means
making a product that solves a problem. The classic "case in point" is Game Boy
lighting who doesnt own a light for their GBA? Nyko has served us well in the
lighting department, and now theyre taking a stab at another age-old problem in
gaming: sweaty palms.
We all know the unfresh feeling of a controller during afternoon
rounds of whatever, especially in the summertime. Some games just make you sweat. How do
you get rid of sweat? Evaporate it. With a fan. The answer seems so simple we use
fans all the time to cool us off and keep us dry. So to cure "gamers hand"
(which seems like a much better term than "sweaty palms"), Nyko will release the
AirFlo controller for Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Gamecube.
only do the AirFlo controllers have fans in the grips, but they have variable speed
fans in the grips. Combined with a cushy rubber surface, scored to maximize cooling
capacity, these things play like a dream. On a quick demo at E3, Nyko representative
Natalie Ness spritzed my hand from a styling bottle and handed me the controller.
Comparing the dry hand to the moist hand was incredible I actually felt like my one
hand was standing in a sunny field, enjoying a cool mountain breeze while the rest of my
body was sweating through E3, land of a million scorching CPUs and displays. I never
wanted to let go.
I can vouch for the fact that the AirFlo controllers are incredibly refreshing for a
quick demo at E3, but itll take some good old wear and tear to really know. The
water was nice, after all, but itll take some real sweat to put these things to the
test. However, I suspect these will be some top of the line controllers that wont
have to rely on the gimmick factor of the AirFlo technology to sell them. Each
systems unique strengths and weaknesses have been addressed in their design.
three versions feature ten foot cords, a foot longer than the first party Microsoft
controller cable. That is good news regardless which system you own. All three controllers
also feature analog buttons and built in vibration. The Gamecube controller is a bit
beefier than the Nintendo model, and the A, B, X and Y buttons are standard shapes
arranged in a regular diamond. The changes will definitely appeal to those folks who just
cant get used to Nintendos unique take on controller design. The PlayStation
controller is pretty much identical to the DualShock in design, although the shoulder
buttons on all three models of AirFlo have been made more trigger-like. The Xbox
controller is a nice middle size between the S and XXXL first party controllers, and the
button layout has been slightly modified.
The construction on the AirFlo controllers looks solid from the prototypes I saw.
Another asset is that they require no extra batteries. The AirFlo controller draws energy
from the console to run the fans and vibration. The exact price of the AirFlo controllers
has not been announced, although Nyko promises they will be "competitive" with
other third party controllers (some websites have the MSRP set at $24.99, which would be
Solid design and the unique cooling system make the AirFlo controllers very appealing.
Keep an eye out for them in your local videogame store soon.