Panda Controller cancellation – There’s still hope for Smash Bros Gamepad

Super Smash Bros has persisted as an esports game way past the expectations of its creators. Melee is still one of the most widely played esports games. Old games like this bring up a few problems. The main one is hardware. Super Smash Bros controllers are a big topic in the community. It can be tricky to find one that fits the bill. For esports, the Panda Gamepad looked like it was going to be a game changer. This week the Panda controller cancellation was announced.

While disappointing, there is still hope for the controller.

Panda Controller

What is the Panda Controller?

The Panda controller might not seem like the biggest deal to anyone on the outside of the Smash Bros community. However, the gamepad had some important innovations. It featured the paddle-like extra buttons that have become known for esports controller games. A considerably better ergonomic design that can be configured differently. Along with better performance and general improvements to things like triggers and buttons.

In general, the Panda controller looked like it was going to be a big improvement for Smash Bros pros. The GameCube controller is still almost universally used by pros. However, they are aging hardware. While new ones are produced, they don’t match up to the specs of a modern gamepad. For professional players, this can be frustrating. A lot of time goes into securing a controller with the right amount of input lag and connectivity to play properly.

This has made third-party controllers a big (if controversial) topic in the Smash Bros community. There are players who use joysticks and other contraptions to compete. You can talk for a long time about which are and aren’t tournament legal.

With this background for the gamepads, you might begin to see why the Panda controller was fairly popular in Smash. This was going to be a high-end controller produced specifically for competitive play. It reached its Kickstarter goal very quicker, but now the Panda controller cancellation has thrown those plans off course.

Panda Controller Cancellation Announced

The Panda controller looked like a great addition to competitive Smash, but it has been canceled. This wasn’t because of a lack of funding, but some problems arose in manufacturing. Strangely for a Smash-Bros-fan product, it wasn’t even Nintendo who got it shut down this time. This week an update detailing the Panda controller cancelation was posted.

Panda has canceled the controller because of problems with production. Their manufacturing partner was always facing delays with covid. However, rolling blackouts have now become another problem for them. This has meant that Panda won’t be able to hit any of its production targets.

Rather than endlessly delay the finished product, Panda has refunded all of their Kickstarter pledges. This isn’t the end for the Panda controller though.

Panda Controller’s Future

The Panda controller cancelation isn’t great news, but it isn’t being forgotten. The controller will still be produced, Panda is looking elsewhere for funding though. They have decided that it is unfair to hold pledges without delivering for that long. However, the success of the Kickstarter has clearly shown that there is an appetite for this type of controller in the future.

Panda will be looking for outside partners to fund the production of their controller once manufacturing timetables are more reasonable. Fans can probably then expect it to buy it directly, without having to wait for production hurdles to be overcome.


The Panda controller cancellation has some pretty good news hidden in there. The cancellation isn’t great, but Panda  are confident enough that it can be made outside of Kickstarter is good. Fans and players should keep an eye out for further developments with the Panda controller, it has the potential to be making a big impact on tournaments once finally finished.

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