The Panda Controller may not be in the cramped, calloused hands of the Super Smash Bros. community as soon as expected.
Panda Esports posted an update early Monday, December 27 that said the production timeline was getting an unfortunate change. According to an official blog post, the controller will most likely see a delay due to the org's Chinese-based manufacturing partner being affected by "ongoing rolling blackouts" and COVID-related shortages that have slowed production.
Said Panda Esports: "We know how excited you all are to get the Panda Controller as soon as possible, but it looks like we can’t guarantee the December 2022 date anymore and we don’t know what the new date will be yet."
This production delay has led Panda Esports to make a very difficult decision. The esports organization stated that they are canceling the Kickstarter early and fully refunding all pledges. This comes after the Kickstarter campaign raised over $1.2 million from the eager Smash community.
Instead, Panda Esports will be pursuing "outside investment" to "continue the project internally." The organization stated that it didn't feel right to hold onto fans' funds for an "unknown amount of time."
Said the esports organization: "We know how disappointing this is for many of you. We can’t thank you enough for the support you’ve given us to help make our dreams a reality. Thank you so, so much to everyone for your support! We have been truly blown away by the positivity we’ve received for the Panda Controller. This project has been a labor of love for almost three years now and this response was something we never could have anticipated. Setting records and showing people how strong our community is when unified has been truly incredible to be a part of."
While many in the Smash community didn't believe the Panda Controller would truly replace the GameCube controller, it was still seen as a very exciting option for Smash players looking for a change. The Smash community has been stubborn when it comes to switching controllers, with many refusing to change to the box despite its advantages due to the familiarity that comes with the GameCube controller.
Still, raising over a million bucks towards the Panda Controller has shown that the players did believe in the project. Many have called the delay and refunds "a shame" on Twitter, with people asking if there will be an updated timeline for fans to follow.
While Panda being transparent is definitely refreshing, the community is currently worried about what comes next.
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