Peripheral maker Razer gave a sneak peak at its new leverless controller, which it seems to be calling the “Kitsune,” during a launch event for Street Fighter 6.
Arcade sticks and, to some extent, gamepads have traditionally been the best way to play fighting games. However, players have gravitated to leverless controllers in recent years due to their perceived advantages.
As their name indicates, leverless controllers lack the traditional joystick or “lever,” with players instead using buttons to control their character’s movement. Leverless controllers were originally developed to allow PC players, who’re used to playing on a keyboard, a means to play in tournaments, which traditionally used consoles. That said, the use of leverless controllers among pro-level players skyrocketed after they found out that certain techniques were more easily executed on them.
Originally produced only by small, specialist manufacturers, the increase in leverless controllers’ popularity led more to mainstream peripheral makers, such as PDP’s VictrixPro line, producing their own.
Now, Razer is apparently throwing its hat into the ring with a leverless controller apparently named the “Kitsune.”
While the company has yet to officially announce the controller, examples were spotted during a Street Fighter 6 pre-launch stream and party hosted by fighting game YouTuber Maximilian “Maximilian D00D” Christiansen. During the stream, Christiansen and his co-hosts confirm that Razer lent them the leverless controllers. (Read: Street Fighter 6 looks to be the most complete fighting game package in years)
In addition, professional fighting game player Sherry “SherryJenix” Nhan posted a video of Razer’s new leverless controller. It’s here where Nhan calls it the “Kitsune,” confirming in the replies that Razer gave attendees “a sneak peak” at it.
The particular example, seen in the video, features art of iconic character Chun-Li. In addition, Nhan also shared a second video showing off the Cammy-themed variant.
— Sherry Nhan (@sherryjenix) June 1, 2023
The latter video also has what seems to be a Razer representative talking about the specifications of the controllers. Specifically, they seem to confirm that the pushbuttons will be using mechanical keyboard switches instead of traditional arcade pushbuttons and microswitches to keep the Kitsune as thin as possible.
Traditional arcade pushbuttons tend to be rather tall due to containing the entire mechanism, including the microswitch, in one housing. Prior to the advent of leverless controllers, this was not an issue as the joystick lever assembly itself was even taller. Leverless controllers, however, opened the door to making smaller, thinner controllers. With this in mind, many of the small specialty manufacturers started using mechanical keyboard technology, key switches mounted onto a PCB covered by circular button caps get the controllers as thin as possible.
That Razer is going this route shouldn’t be a surprise. The company already has its own line of key switches manufactured by Kailhua—switches that have seen duty inside the traditional arcade pushbuttons of Razer’s own Panthera Evo.
Of course, none of this is official as Razer has yet to properly announce its leverless controller. That said, with Street Fighter 6 launching this weekend, it’s highly likely that they’ll officially reveal it and give out its specs and pricing very soon.
Update: Razer has officially announced the Kitsune leverless controller and provided more details. The controller, which will be compatible with PlayStation 5 and PC, uses Razer’s new low-profile optical switches to enable its slim form factor. In addition, as with most Razer products, it will be compatible with its Chroma RGB software.
The company, however, has not yet given out pricing and release details, instead allowing interested players to register for updates on the Kitsune via email.
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