Exclusive first look! – New KONAMI beatmania IIDX Arcade Style Controller @ JAEPO2016 [UPDATE!!]

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On Christmas Eve last year, Konami announced that they would be making a new ASC (Arcade Style Controller) for their popular beatmania IIDX series. Why now? Simple – the release of the subscription-based beatmania IIDX INFINITAS needed an official controller.

The price of the controller – about $260 before shipping – was revealed on February 10th during that week’s BEnama live broadcast, and just 8 days later, the controller’s required preorder amount had reached 53%. Konami, hoping to boost that up over 100%, decided to give the public a preview of the controller at JAEPO. As soon as the doors opened, we headed over to be the first to try it out! Check out our two videos below of gameplay and buttons/turntable testing:

 

Timing-wise, I had no problem with a default +/- 0.0 timing, and the turntable wasn’t as awkward, size-wise, as I was expecting it to be.

My only major gripe with the controller is the key setup. The microswitches were VERY heavy, and there were no springs in the buttons. All 3 controllers present had the same setup. We’re hoping that Konami will give users an option in customizing their switch/spring setup. It’s very rare to see a IIDX setup in the arcade with no springs, and the few that exist mostly have very light switches. Let’s see what happens!

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And here it is. The turntable has a light similar to the arcade, and the keys all light up, with the exception of the 4 function keys, used for menus in-game. This might be changed in the final version.

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One thing that surprised us was the turntable’s texture. It was neither old or new-style/Empress grip, but something entirely different. It was slightly soft. Even though we were the first to play on it, and it was very clean, the grip was very weak. If you’re one of the people who get sweaty hands/fingers when you play, you’ll have a LOT of trouble with this turntable. Hopefully the final product will have the newer Empress-style grip like current arcade versions do.

You’ll be happy to know, however, that it was a completely analog turntable, and same-direction scratching response/lag time was excellent!

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The controller’s surface/finish is not metal or stainless steel, but rather a very hard plastic, with a stainless steel pattern, and a glossy clear-coat over that.

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We couldn’t get any staff to answer our questions about the controller, or let us photograph the inside/PCBs, but here’s a quick shot of the bottom. I apologize for the low quality – we were really being rushed so that the next person in line could try.

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The feet were plastic, with very small rubber grip rings. Standard Phillips-head screws there.

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From applying pressure to various places, it’s our guess that once the 4 feet are removed, you also have to remove these 4 Flathead screws, then the bottom panel will be removable.

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The left and right sides of the controller are flat and identical, and have 4 hex screws holding it all together. As you can see, the front and back sides have a trapezoidal shape to them. We bent/handled/shook the controller up pretty well (in secret) and it have to admit, they are very well-built. I’d be very surprised if one of these was damaged in shipping.

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Here’s a quick shot of a 1P and 2P controller side-by side. These are switchable, according to Konami.

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2p-side controller.

All in all, while we’re hoping for a few improvements, it’s definitely a solid controller and for a fair price! There was a comment/survey book available for players to voice their opinions at JAEPO. Let’s see if Konami announces any changes soon!

So, do you want one?

More pics below:

Infinitas 1 Infinitas 2 Inifinitas Notebook Infinitas 3 Infinitas 4

[FAQ UPDATE!!]

Konami and the controller design team have responded to player questions and provided many answers. Take a look at our translation below!


Q. Please tell me the weight and size.
A. W: 50cm D: 25cm H: 10cm. Weight is 4kg.

Q. What are the height and size of the turntable?
A. The size of the turntable is the same diameter as the original KOC, 15cm. Height is the same as the arcade cabinet.

Q. Looking at the photograph, the distance of the turntable from the keyboard appears to be different than the arcade…is it?
A. The distance is the same as the arcade.

Q. What’s the difference in size compared to the arcade?
A. Other than the size of the turntable, size and spacing are the same.

Q. What material is the controller made of?
A. Stainless steel.

Q. How long is the cable?.
A. 3 meters.

Q. Are you using, or will there be an Empress (EMP) turntable sheet option?
A. No, and there are no plans.

Q. Are the button Sanwas? And are the switches, springs, and sensors the same as those of the arcade?
A. The buttons aren’t Sanwas. It’s not exactly the same as the arcade, but the buttons can be replaced.

Q. Can we see a picture of the internals?

A. Because it is still a prototype, we’re not able to show you. If the controller goes into production, we will publish an image.

Q. Is it easy to switch between 1P and 2P without tools?
A. The switching is done with an Allen wrench, which comes with the controller.

Q. Can we remove or replace buttons/parts one-by-one or does it have to be all at once?
A. Parts can be replaced individually.

Q. If we need to repair/do maintenance on the buttons, how can we do this?
A. You should use a hex wrench.

Q. Is it possible to adjust the weight/strength of the turntable?
A. No, you can not adjust the weight of the turntable.

Q. With the past arcade style controller, you could put two side-by-side and play DP. Can you do the same with these?
A. If you put a little space in-between, you can play with arcade spacing.

Q. Can I use this with a PS2?
A. No, this only works with the dedicated software (INFINITAS).

Q. What’s the maximum number of buttons that can be pressed simultaneously?
A. All of the buttons can be pressed simultaneously.

Q. What do the four function buttons map to?
A. “Start button”, “Options”, “Change difficulty”, and “Menu”.

Q. Can all game functions be done with just the controller?
A. Basic operation can be done with the controller. If there is some number input required, use the numeric keypad.

Q. If I don’t want to have the LEDs light up, can I disable them?
A. Sorry, but you can not toggle this ON / OFF.

Q. Is the controller recognized as a keyboard or game pad?
A. It is recognized as a game pad.

Q. How does the key assignment work? And can we use the controller with other PC software?
A. IIDX key assignment is done in-game. Because it is recognized as a game pad, you should be able to use it with other PC software.

Q. Do you need any special software drivers?
A. When you connect the USB plug, the driver will be installed automatically.

Q. Is the input DirectInput or XInput? Is it recognized as a unique USB device?
A. It uses DirectInput. It is a standard Windows driver.

Q. Can I play DP with one ASC and one keyboard?
A. Yes.

Q. If my address changes, can I update it before it ships?
A. Yes, the address can be changed up until shipping prep.

Q. If production is confirmed, will orders be accepted afterwards?
A. Currently, there are no plans.

Q. Can we use a payment method other than a credit card?
A. We’re sorry, credit card payment only.

Q. Can I split the credit card payments?
A. No, full payment only.

Q. When will the controller ship?
A. It’s planned to be early Summer 2016.

(The following 2 questions were already in English! Thanks for listening, Konamistyle!)

Q. Will you please sell these in the USA?
A. This is sold only in Japan.

Q. Is the button easily swappable by user? So I can maintenance or change it for aesthetic reasons easily.
A. Yes, you can swap the button for maintenance.