Microsoft’s Xbox 360 controller has dominated the PC gamepad market during this console generation. Now that we’re nearing the launch of the new platforms, dedicated PC gamers are starting to worry about which gamepads will work going forward.
This week, Microsoft officially confirmed that the Xbox One controller will work under Windows, but not until sometime in 2014. While this is positive news, it still leaves PC devotees wondering why Microsoft can’t make it work on day one.
GamesBeat is reporting that Microsoft does intend to keep up the same level of gamepad support going forward, but the work required to deliver a proper software solution requires a few extra months after the Xbox One launch. A Microsoft spokesperson specifically cites the newly implemented Wi-Fi Direct standard, the addition of a “wired mode,” the new impulse triggers, and backwards compatibility as the cause of the delay.
At this point, most large-scale PC game releases ship with built-in Xbox 360 controller support. Especially since Valve released Steam Big Picture mode to much acclaim, Xbox 360 controller support is the expectation. While the 360 controller will continue to work seamlessly just as before, it’s a colossal disappointment that gamers won’t be able to take advantage of the new controller right off the bat.
The one upside to the situation is that Microsoft seems to be taking this seriously. A Microsoft rep specifically says that Redmond is going to “make sure that existing PC games that support the Xbox 360 controller will work with the Xbox One controller.” The long wait for official support of the Xbox One controller will be slightly maddening, but it’s nice to see that Microsoft isn’t planning to simply ship a half-assed driver to pay lip service to the PC gaming crowd.
On the Mac, the Xbox 360 controller is widely supported thanks to an unofficial driver developed by a man named Colin Munro. It’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to think that like-minded individuals will step up and release unofficial Xbox One drivers before Microsoft gets around to releasing the officially supported software. The appeal of a new controller with an improved layout, and a D-Pad that actually works, is enough to compel the gaming community to do the necessary heavy lifting.
Microsoft doesn’t plan on releasing a new version of the next-gen Kinect for Windows until next year, so it’s possible that Redmond is attempting to boost sales of the Xbox One by keeping the new and shiny accessories out of the hands of PC gamers for the first year. With all of the recent flip-flopping to keep consumers happy, it seems that Microsoft is willing to do whatever it must to make the Xbox One a success. Unfortunately, that might also mean undermining PC support in the meantime.
While you're here, you might also want to check out: How do the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers compare?