Razer’s new xCloud-ready Kishi controller adds Xbox buttons for a $20 premium

Technology

Razer has made a variant of its shape-shifting Nintendo Switch-esque Kishi controller that’s ready for xCloud, Microsoft’s cloud gaming service that will let you play Xbox games on demand with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription. The cloud service launches on September 15th, but this controller releases today for $99.99.

This new version has the same design as the standard Kishi that I reviewed a few months ago, and it’s still made just for Android devices. (Razer’s iOS version is still on track for a summer release). But this new version has a dedicated Xbox button near the directional pad.

The familiar View and Menu buttons are here, too, flanking the left and right sides of your phone when it’s inserted. This Kishi variant flipped the color scheme of the lettered face buttons to match Microsoft’s own styling. The only other difference worth noting here is that purchase of the new Kishi comes with a 14-day trial to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, so you can try out xCloud if you like.

In case you just want the TL;DR, the Kishi splits in half to make room for most Android phones that have a center-aligned USB-C port (excluding the S20 Ultra and any other phone that exceeds dimensions of 78.1 x 163.7 x 8.8mm), and it has a passthrough USB-C port on the lower edge that allows you to keep your phone charged all the while. Despite looking flimsy, it has a comfortable build that doesn’t feel like much of a compromise when compared to Microsoft’s own wireless controller.

It’s worth noting that Razer’s standard Kishi without Xbox branding costs $80, so $20 less than the officially licensed one announced today. And despite the price difference, Razer confirmed the standard model will also work with xCloud. It has generic Android navigation buttons instead of matching what the Xbox controller offers, and the Xbox Nexus button on the pricier Kishi apparently boots right into the Xbox mobile app.

But if you can get over those minor differences, you might be able to save some money. Of course, you can save even more when xCloud launches if you already own an Xbox One wireless controller with Bluetooth. Even the PS4’s DualShock 4 will get official support when xCloud launches, and you can find one of those for $50 or less.