If you look at anyone’s gamepads, chances are they are the original PS3 or 360 controllers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; both Sony and Microsoft put thousands of hours of research into making their controllers perfect, and though neither is, both are very solid. But after five and six years respectively, has there really been nothing so much better?

I found one that is, and from what I’ve seen thus far, it is glorious. From Mad Catz, who over the past five years has undergone a complete transformation and introduced a large handful of great products. The MLG Pro Circuit Controller is not only the most customizable gamepad I’ve ever seen, it’s also the toughest. I spent a few minutes just pushing and pressing on it, and it’s as solid as gamepads come.

Customization is a big deal for the Pro Circuit. Every controller ships with two sets of thumbsticks and two d-Pads, all of which are interchangeable and replaceable. They come in two styles, PS3 and 360, so thumbsticks can be concave or convex, and the d-Pad can be full or separate button. Even the faceplate and palm rests can be replaced with different styled plastics, like glossy or a textured plastic coating. Additional styles can be purchased separately online. It even comes with weights, up to 70 grams, that are completely interchangeable.

I spent a little while holding and playing with it, and you may be turned off by the $130 price point, but from what I’ve seen thus far, the MLG Pro Circuit may be the last controller you’ll ever need. One problem that Mad Catz has found is people who play often, people like myself, go through controllers fairly quickly because they wear out, break, have ripped cables…there’s always something. Mad Catz thinks it has fixed all of these problems. The cable is tethered and screws onto the controller, the build is solid, and it’s all completely adjustable.

Of course, it is wired, which is because of the “MLG” part of the controller. Pro gamers don’t want a wireless controller because they’re slightly slower and have some lag, and such controllers are illegal at professional gaming tournaments. While I’d love to see a similar wireless controller, or a build that works both wired and wirelessly, this one is not like that. The other thing to note is that while you can get both thumbstick models, there is a difference between the 360 and PS3 models. For gamers who own both consoles like myself, because of branding and licensing issues, there won’t be one Pro Circuit Controller that works on both consoles. Both models will work on the PC.

The MLG Pro Circuit Controller is available now, though I haven’t found it available anywhere except for the Xbox 360 version on Amazon, for $100. That’s for the controller, two sets of thumbsticks and two d-Pads, a 9′ threaded cable, and a carrying case for all of it. Varying and additional thumbsticks, d-Pads, cables, face plates and other accessories will all vary and will be available later on.

James Pikover

Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.