Game for thirty minutes or so with a regular controller, and you'll be fine. But gaming for hours on end, and you might get hand cramps or sore arms. XtendPlay is here to help.
Platform: Xbox 360 or PS3
What's in the box: XtendPlay.
XtendPlay comes in two flavors: green for Xbox 360 and blue for PS3. Each is a light foam-type holder for your Xbox 360 and DualShock 3 controllers. The product was designed by Xwerx after the founders discovered that gaming for over an hour caused their hands to become cramped, sore and sweaty.
The PS3 and Xbox 360 controllers fit snuggly in the XtendPlay, so a bit of shoving required to get the controllers to dock. Once they are in, there is a recommended way to hold the docked XtendPlay: players should be able to "barehand" their controller while still being able to comfortably reach the buttons and triggers. Holding the XtendPlay in its "mid-section" as if it was simply a controller extension will make gaming more difficult. There are grooves on the side of the XtendPlay that were helpful markers for where your hands should go. While using the XtendPlay, players rest the docked controller on their lap or their mid-section. The Xbox 360 version has a recess that can accommodate most headset jacks.
What We Liked
At first, I was skeptical. Putting the controller in XtendPlay makes the whole XtendPlay-plus-controller getup on the enormous side, and there was a short adjustment period. But once I quickly got over that short hump, gaming with the XtendPlay did feel comfortable. I typically do not game while sitting on the sofa, but usually rest my hands on a small coffee table in front of the television — uncommon, I know. But I think I've done this in the past because it gives me extra support while playing. XtendPlay works on the same principle. So I could plop down on the sofa, rest the XtendPlay on my belly and game away for hours on end. The XtendPlay makes what you are holding slightly larger, which means my grip was looser and more relaxed. There's less tension required and my arms and shoulders felt slightly more supple. And since it's made from soft, breathable foam, I never felt like my hands were getting sweaty and gross — something that's a complaint due to the hard plastic on standard controllers.
What We Didn't Like
The XtendPlay is designed to fit official controllers to a T. If you have third party controllers that are of a slightly different size, tough toodles, because the XtendPlay won't support them. Between the Xbox 360 and PS3 XtendPlay, I preferred the Xbox 360 one. I go into this in greater detail in the above clip, but the reason is that there is a piece of the XtendPlay that extends out near the PS3 controller's triggers. It feels like there's something in the way.
The Bottom Line
The XtendPlay is an interesting (and worthy) attempt at trying to making long periods of gaming more comfortable. For many players, gaming marathons can cause minor aches and pains — something XtendPlay aims to rectify. XtendPlay reminds me a great deal of an extra pillow in that you can still get to sleep with one cushion, but that extra pillow just might make your slumber all the more comfortable.
The XtendPlay was released by XWerx in December 2010. Currently priced at $19.99. A unit was provided to Kotaku for reviewing purposes. Played Marvel Pinball, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Burnout Paradise and Gran Turismo 5 extensively.