8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox review - an ideal fighting game companion

Perfect for Street Fighter 6

8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox launches on the cusp of a potential new golden age of fighting games for Microsoft’s current-gen console and PC. It’s a simple, yet robust fight stick that’s reasonably priced, highly customizable, and packs powerful features to prepare you for the best fighting games releasing this year and beyond. It’s well worth considering if you’re looking to switch up from a regular gamepad.


  • +

    High quality buttons and stick

  • +

    Convenient ancillary features

  • +

    Supports wired and wireless connectivity


  • -

    A bit on the bulky side

  • -

    No PS5 or Switch support

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It’s a bumper year for fighting games, and in preparation, 8BitDo has manufactured an Xbox version of its arcade stick. Best of all, it’s a competent and affordable alternative to the competition if you’re after an entry-level fight stick that ticks most of the boxes.

With a slew of fighting games releasing this year, you may be looking at purchasing one of the best fight sticks to up your game with. If you're on Xbox Series X|S, then I strongly recommend giving the 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox a shot. Especially so if you've recently picked up Street Fighter 6.

That’s because the 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox is much cheaper than some of its competitors, like the Nacon Daija and Qanba Obsidian. It’s also up to 8BitDo’s high-quality standard. Here, you’re getting a more than competent fight stick with a high level of customizability, but one that’s nonetheless straightforward enough for first-time users to get to grips with.

Price and availability

The 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox will be available from June 30, 2023. It can be pre-ordered from Amazon for $119.99 / £99 (around AU$182.99) in either white or black colorways. At present, no Australian availability has been announced, but this review will be updated with the relevant pricing in the event that changes. 

Design and Features

8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox

(Image credit: Future)

In terms of design, the 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox is largely identical to the 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Nintendo Switch. However, it trades the eye-catching, NES-like aesthetic for a sleeker matte black or white (depending on your chosen color variant) matching the color of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S respectively.

The buttons and stick bear a glossy black finish, while ancillary buttons like Menu, Share, and the function dials share the same hue as your chosen colorway. Overall, the aesthetic isn’t too flashy, but ultimately a very fitting match for Xbox’s current-generation machines.

There are some key differences with the new Xbox version of 8BitDo’s fight stick. The back end features a USB-C port for wired connectivity, which here has been separated from the 2.4Ghz receiver port. Interestingly, that wireless receiver port already has the relevant dongle inserted and tucked behind a removable dust cover panel. That’s handy, as it means you can switch between wired and wireless connectivity at a moment’s notice should you need to.

The Xbox variant features two dials over on the top left. One lets you switch between left analog, right analog, and D-pad input for the stick itself. The other, meanwhile, supports headset functionality. You can connect a wired headset via the 3.5mm port on the front of the device, and this dial lets you disable mic and/or headset audio, or leave both enabled when a headset is connected.

Nearly everything else remains the same on the 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox compared to its Nintendo Switch counterpart. The Xbox stick has an identical button layout and weighs roughly the same. The 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox is also fully customizable, so you can swap out its buttons and sticks for alternatives should you desire it.

Wanting to use a set of high-quality Sanwa buttons for Street Fighter 6? You’re able to do that. Though you will need a screwdriver to access the stick’s innards in order to swap out the default components for your desired replacements. 


8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox

(Image credit: Future)

While not exactly the gold standard provided by Sanwa’s excellent range of components, the out-of-box performance of the 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox is incredibly solid. You’re getting a responsive, square gate-mounted joystick and a set of convex face buttons.

Said buttons aren’t particularly remarkable, but get the job done with a satisfyingly springy feel that’s well-suited to quickfire inputs. While all components are swappable, the default layout is still perfectly serviceable for beginners, and will certainly serve you well if you’re making the jump from one of the best Xbox controllers to fight stick for the first time.

You might also be curious about the stick’s wireless performance. While I personally prefer a wired connection for minimal input delay, the 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox performs about as well wirelessly as the official Xbox Wireless Controller does. Additional latency isn’t particularly noticeable, meaning a wireless connection is perfectly acceptable for casual to intermediate-level play.

And as with other excellent products from the manufacturer, including the 8BitDo Ultimate controller for Nintendo Switch, the arcade stick’s battery life is relatively impressive. You’ll get around 30 hours on a full charge. However, that drops significantly to around 15-20 hours with a headset connected. Certainly, something to keep in mind if you’re chatting with friends while ranking up online.

When connected via USB-C, the stick will take roughly four hours to charge back to full from empty, which is quite a substantial amount of charge time, so I recommend leaving it overnight if you’re needing to recharge the device.

Should you buy the 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox?

8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You’re after an entry-level Xbox stick
8BitDo’s Xbox fight stick is the best for the console at its price point and is perfectly suited for first-time stick users.

You’ve just bought Street Fighter 6
Street Fighter 6 has done a phenomenal job onboarding new players, and its multiple control schemes complement first-time fight stick users well. 

Don't buy it if...

You’d prefer a controller
There are controllers well-suited to fighting games’ unique button layouts, including the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 and the Nacon Revolution X Pro.

You want something less weighty

The 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox is bulkier than your average controller, so you might not get on with it for longer gaming sessions.

How we tested

The 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox controller was tested over the course of a week, primarily with fighting games available on Xbox Series X|S and PC. These include Tekken 7, Guilty Gear Strive, and Killer Instinct. 

The stick was tested both wired and wirelessly, to get a feel for changes to input delay and battery life. Further tests included its performance with a gaming headset connected to see how performance and battery life fared. In all cases, the 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Xbox performed to a high standard on both console and PC, with or without a headset, and with both wired and wireless connections.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.