Review | 8BitDo M30 Wired Xbox Controller

Originally published at: Review | 8BitDo M30 Wired Xbox Controller - XboxEra

The following hardware was provided by the manufacturer, 8BitDo, for review.

The Xbox controller has never been my go-to for 2D titles. While the Series controller’s d-pad has been a significant improvement compared to the system’s official controllers before (the 360’s comes to mind, don’t even mention the Duke), more often than not I’d go for third party controllers or the DualShock 4 when possible. Prior to getting ahold of 8BitDo’s latest Sega Saturn-inspired gaming pad, I was borrowing a friend’s Hori controller to get through the likes of TEKKEN 8 and the occasional platformer here and there.

And I’m happy to say that at $34.99 USD, the 8BitDo M30 Wired Xbox controller is a steal thanks to its feature set and product quality.

Crescent-ly Padded

The M30 Wired Xbox controller comes in a small, sturdy white box that carries no more than the bare necessities. You’ll find the M30, a two and a half meter USB-C wire, a manual, and a month trial to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The controller itself is a small, jelly bean-shaped kit with all the necessary Xbox buttons, including a set of bumpers and triggers. No rumble support, but for fighters and platformers I would rather have that off anyway—if I notice rumbling, it’s being more of a nuisance than being immersive.

It has a share button as well as a profile switcher, which allows you to set up to three custom button profiles using the 8BitDo Ultimate software from the PC Microsoft Store. On the back you have a left stick emulation and d-pad setting alongside being able to change the functionality of the triggers, perfect if you’re going to tackle a fighter or 2D Metroidvania. Lastly, there’s a 3.5mm Aux port with a microphone mute slider right at the bottom, thankfully away from my chunky palms.

The controller is a light little thing and love the feel of the buttons. The d-pad is sensitive and it took me a bit to really get a hang of how to pull off Shahid’s combos in TEKKEN. I found that inputs that involve ↗ inputs would sometimes double press or go ↑ instead. It’s a bit mushy, but my inputs are habits from the Hori and Series controller, really—I eventually figured out where to push my directional buttons and I do encourage a bit of practise before heading online with any new controller. What I found was a great fighting pad that I can now take anywhere with me thanks to its small stature.

I never got around to Street Fighter with this pad, instead I spent the better half of last week playing through a couple of 2D platformers. Namely, I ran through ‘DuckTales Remastered’ (Wayforward’s magnum opus), ‘Momodora: Moonlit Farewell’, and the latest DLC for ‘ASTLibra Revision’. The pad is a great fit for these games and I breezed through DuckTales and Momodora with ease. I even got decently far into the first level of ‘Penny’s Big Adventure’, til I needed to use the right stick of course. It’s worth pointing out that on my unit, the LSB button was harder to push than the LB button. This didn’t get in the way of the action, but it’s something to note if you do pick up the controller for yourself.

I used the M30 between my PC and Xbox Series console with no issue, though the “Share” button doesn’t work at all with the Game Bar on PC. To use the profile switching button (the one with the company’s logo etched on), I did grab the 8Bitdo Ultimate software from the PC Microsoft Store. An easy install, but the user interface for the software was a little clunky, and Steam also got in the way of it being detected. But from here you can remap just about any button sans the d-pad and save those settings directly to the controller—a nice surprise for a controller at this price point. Said button can also adjust system volume as well, though I ultimately never used this myself: old habits die hard, I live by the FN keys.

As far as I can tell, however, you cannot update the controller’s firmware from here and you’ll need to go to 8BitDo’s website and grab the official updater. Seeing as the controller worked perfectly fine, I had no need to go through this process, but I’ve updated other 8BitDo hardware with ease and the company has been consistent with support for their products. But even then, I think we’d all much rather have a controller that doesn’t need updates to begin with, and the M30 worked perfectly well with its factory software.

In short, the M30 Wired Xbox controller is great. For $35 bucks, you get a solid kit and even software features, which isn’t all too common for controllers at this price point. I’ve been using this controller for the last two weeks and I’ll be using it for the foreseeable future for my 2D and TEKKEN needs. ∎

The 8BitDo M30 Wired Xbox controller is available for $34.99 USD at (US/UK), 8BitDo’s official website, and AliExpress.