Price: £15 via Amazon
Type: Controller Accesory.
Breaking a new product into the gaming market can be a challenge, and especially if it’s as odd-looking as Xtendplay, a new accessory designed to fit your Xbox 360 controller like a glove and combat the effects of “Gamers Claw” and make gaming for comfortable, therefore making you a better player. Big claims for a green thing made of foam.
Out of the box this thing isn’t going to be winning any beauty pageants. In fact, if I’m going to be honest, it’s pretty ugly. But, as your mum should have tought you, you should never judge a book by its cover, or a green foam thing by its looks.
Xtendplay “slips” over the bottom of your controller, or so it claims, but I can safely say that it doesn’t “slip” over anything. Getting my controller in was a bit of a fight, as was getting it back out as well. Even after doing this several times it hasn’t really become any easier.
I have never actually suffered from this “Gamers Claw”, perhaps from simply playing games most of my life or constant playing of the drums, but either way I’ve never had a problem, though I do occasionally get slightly sore wrists or a stinging sensation in the back of my hand. While using Xtendplay I found myself holding it much looser than I normally would, and I didn’t tighten my grip like I often do when playing something like Forza 3 and braking heavily into a corner. Instead its bigger design allow it to rest on my legs and my hand to grip it loosely making for a much more comfortable position.
This is the biggest strength of Xtendplay; it’s comfortable to hold and relaxes your arms and hands, but the claim that this makes you a better gamer is a little questionable. While I was more relaxed and my fingers had no trouble flowing across the buttons I don’t know If I could claim I was playing any better.
Xtendplay does have a fairly large adjustment period as it changes the weight and balance of your controller considerably, and that’s not even adding in the obvious size increase. Trying to hold it like it’s a simple extension to the arms results in you stretching to reach the closest button. It takes time to learn how to hold it, and play games using it.
It also claims to lessen sweaty hands by using grooves in the design to help with air-flow, which then keeps your hands cooler. It’s tough to say if they actually worked, but the material did seem to irritate my hands slightly leading to me getting a bit of moisture on my hands pretty quickly compared to normal.
I do need to point out the big flaw in Xtendplay though: headsets and mics. While Xtendplay does accept newer versions of the official controller, there is no hole or area to feed the wire through so it sticks out between foam and controller. It’s a peculiar design flaw. And if you happen to have an original wired Mic then you’ve got a problem as they don’t fit at all. I also tested it with a set of wired Turtle Beach X1’s, and they didn’t fit either, and that resulted in me having to take Xtendplay off anytime I wanted to talk to my friends.
3rd party controllers won’t work either, so if yo happen to have a Madcatz controller or other 3rd party controller your out of luck as they simply won’t fit into Xtendplay.
And not its time to end this review and I must sum up this unusual product. Xtendplay succeeds in making your controller a more comfortable device to game with. It relaxes the fingers and hands which solves those aches and pains, but there are some flaws to contend with. Whether it’s claims of making you a better gamer are true or not is up for questioning, but at least I was comfy while debating it.
What I will say is that most hardcore gamers don’t suffer from gamers claw, or even sweaty hands as they’ve spent years adjusting to controllers, so Xtendplay may not be as useful for those dedicated gamers out there.
So, would I recommend buying Xtendplay? Yes.It’s comfortable and lets you take on a more relaxed posture while game, but it’s only worth it if you have an official controller, and new official mic or wireless mic/headset. It’s not going to be to everyone’s taste, and dedicated gamers may not find its effects to be that prominent, but if you do suffer from cramp then this may be the answer to your problems.
Note: Xtendplay was tested over almost two weeks of continuous play using such games as Call of Duty: Black Ops, Crysis 2, Forza 3, WWE All Stars, LEGO Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Age of Booty, DiRT 2 and more.