Kickstarter campaigns getting canceled isn’t that rare of a thing. There are plenty of reasons why a crowdfunding project can fail to get off the ground, ranging from the common like simply failing to attract enough money to the more unexpected like being canceled because of legal issues. What isn’t so common, however, is when a campaign is successful –wildly so, in fact– yet still dies a premature death. Sadly, that’s what happened with Panda Global’s attempt to crowdfund an updated version of the classic Nintendo GameCube controller.
The controller for Nintendo’s box-shaped console has remained popular thanks to its suitability for the competitive Super Smash Bros. scene. However, after 20 years of advancements to gamepad design since its debut, there is certainly room for improvement. That’s what the Panda Controller is meant to provide. Panda Global’s hardware division has pitched a controller built with the “highest quality parts” out of the box, quality-of-life improvements like an extra shoulder button and a more durable control stick, and extra features like additional buttons, custom length triggers, compatibility with PC and other Nintendo platforms, and expansion pack support.
In other words, Panda Hardware is trying to create the ultimate GameCube controller for professional Smash Bros. players and other hardcore gamers. Fans were absolutely for it, pouring an impressive $$1,904,694 into the Panda Controller’s Kickstarter and crushing the original $100,000 goal and several stretch goals in the process. Unfortunately, according to an update from Panda Hardware, the project has run into some serious roadblocks, the most severe being the company’s main manufacturing partner being stalled by a combination of ongoing rolling blackouts and COVID-related shortages.
The result is that the company can no longer guarantee the original December 2022 launch window for the Panda Controller, and is currently unsure when it will have a new window set. As such, Panda Hardware has decided to cancel the Kickstarter campaign and refund all the money pledged, stating that it didn’t feel right to hold on to it while the release plans are on indefinite pause. The good news, however, is that this isn’t the end of the Panda Controller, as the company intends to pursue outside investment to get it out the door and continue working on the project in the meantime.
On a somewhat related note, last month it was announced that Panda Global is partnering with Nintendo to host the first officially-licensed Super Smash Bros. tournament circuit in North America next year. This could signal a major change for the Smash Bros. esports scene, as it has mainly been supported by a grassroots fan community and third-party organizations like Panda Global for years. On top of that, it will give fans ample opportunity to put some extra mileage on their GameCube controllers while they wait for the Panda Controller to finally come out.