While multi-console boards have been on the market for a long time, with the PS360+ being the board of choice for modern and legacy consoles, none have been able to create a universal board that supports next gen.
While AkiShop’s tried and true PS360+ had attempted to create a firmware for the PS4, it suffered from an 8 minute time out and would constantly need to be reconnected for continuous play. Other boards such as Phreakmod’s cerberus added similar functionality with the same drawback.
Should players want to mod their sticks for PS4 or Xbox one, they would have to buy controllers from $30 to $60 a piece per console, making the process of adding console compatibility pricy. Should they not have the tools or knowledge then another $30 or more could be spent on paying a modder to do the job for them.
Brooks originally had launched a series of converters for the next gen (PS4/XB1) and current gen (PS3/360) and WiiU that supported many popular pads and controllers. They then released the PCBA Fighting Board, a PS3/4 compatible board complete with autodetection, updatable firmware, and touch pad and player LED compatibility all packed into a board just smaller than a quarter.
Now they have announced the release of the Universal Fighting Board, supporting PS3,PS4,XBox 360, Xbox 1, and PC through Xinput. The will be familar to anyone who has used a PS360+, and the board is complete with the same features of the PCBA.
The announcement thread on SRK lists the following features for the Universal Fighting Board:
– Auto-Detects PS3, PS3, XBOX360, XBOXONE, & PC (XINPUT)
– No 8-Minute Time-Out on PS4
– Screw Terminals for easy wiring and installation
– Updatable Firmware via USB
– Stick can be mapped to DP, LS, RS
– SOCD Cleaner
– TP Key, L3, R3 Buttons Available
– LED functions
There are only small concecrns I have with the board. Please note that some points may or may not apply to players, however the board has yet to be released and future firmware or hardware updates may change how the board functions.
- Future console updates may create discompatibility with the fighting board. We have seen this with brooks converters and the PCBA with sony’s recent firmware updates. While these updates may render the board unusable, I say it is a small concern as Brooks has been consistently updating their firmware within 48 hours of new updates to add compatibility for their products. However one mistimed update with an event may cause issues, though the likelyhood of this is miniscule at best.
- No legacy support. However the board does not have an RJ-45 jack and only a USB B port, where they advertise it for 4 consoles and PC specifically, so this is a very weak point to argue. Some will claim it to be a PS360+ killer, however it lacks some features that add ease and functionality to using the PS360+. While not an issue for myself, it does add cost for those wanting support for consoles such as the sega dreamcast, ps1, ps2, and other consoles, where another board, such as the Multi Console Cthulu, and a USB line switcher would be required. What would be an impressive act would be if brooks creates a new board revision that adds the hardware for legacy support, making it the go to board for modders.
- Lack of button combinations and a configuration mode. This is coming from a person who’s used the PS360+ is a handful of builds but many features such as analog stick/ d-pad selection and extra buttons require their own button or switch. While touchpad and L3/R3 are not required, it would be much easier for users who would like to add such features to have a specific button combination to access them so that they would not have to add additional buttons to the case, short the signal for a button to another so that one activates both, or create a circuit through the use of OR chips or similar hardware to make their own button shortcuts. This is one feature I’m surprised was overlooked, as brook’s had to have been aware of the PS360+’s software. Many stick users may not have a SPDT switch for selecting analog stick, forcing them to constantly use one mode or modify their case to accomodate the switch. Some games on PC or console only detect one or another for input, so it’d be nice to have a shortcut to switch back and forth between LS and Dpad.
Though I have those small concerns they will still not dissuade me from buying the board, and I am very much looking forward to what features future updates bring to the table.
If you are interested in a tech write up, feel free to visit Jasen Hick’s Blog, and be sure to check out his other tech created for the PS360+, which now has extended use to this board with the inclusion of the 20 pin through hole solder points for pin headers. Big thanks to Jasen for taking the beautiful pics above!