From the moment the Xbox One went on sale, I've been silently waiting for drivers for the controller to be released for Windows. While I am sure the actual console is awesome, I simply don't game enough to buy it. However, I do casually game on my PC, so I want to own the best controller.
And earlier this week, my waiting finally ended, as Microsoft released the drivers I desire. I ran down to my local Walmart to buy the limited-edition Titanfall controller. Why did I buy that one? It looks cool and only cost $5 (£3) more. As soon as I got home, I ripped open the box, inserted the batteries and plugged it in. After installing the drivers, I was off to the races. But how well does it work on Windows?
Extremely well. I tested it on two Windows 8.1 machines - a Surface Pro 3 and a custom-built desktop that I assembled. Since the desktop is better specced for gaming, I tested it first. I decided to try a few different things - a game on Steam, a game from the Windows Store and an emulator.
The Steam game that I tested was Injustice: Gods Among us. This is a fighting game which works best with a controller. Overall the controller was very responsive and the buttons felt good. Pulling off combos and using complicated button combinations was a breeze.
To test a game from the Windows Store, I purchased one called "ilomilo plus". It is on sale this week for a super-low $2.49 (£1.48). Best of all, it supports the Xbox 360 controller, which in turn means the Xbox One controller should work too. This is a game that can be played well with a keyboard. However, a controller definitely improves the experience as you can recline in your chair and relax as you play. Again, the experience was as expected - the controller worked great.
Lastly, I played some Super Nintendo ROMs (yes, I own the originals) on an emulator from the Windows Store called "Nesbox". With the Xbox One controller in hand, I was reliving the days of my youth playing some old-school platformers. The buttons automatically mapped themselves to match the SNES controller. Playing ROMs with a keyboard takes away from the overall experience. To truly be immersed in the game, a controller is ideal.
While everything worked wonderfully on the desktop, I was more excited to try it on the Surface Pro 3. I had no doubt that it would work, but nonetheless I was eager to try. Think about it - the Surface Pro 3 can already replace a laptop, but with the addition of the Xbox One controller, it also becomes the ultimate portable gaming machine. I can envision myself stuck in a hotel room while away on business and spending countless hours playing games on the Surface Pro 3. As you can see in the video at the top of this article, it works amazingly.
So, if you are a PC gamer, it is time to upgrade from the Xbox 360 controller, or whatever gamepad you are using, and buy the Xbox One controller. It feels great in the hand, connects by microUSB and looks damn sexy too. My only complaint is that a USB cable is not included in the box, but I have so many of them already, that it really doesn't matter. This is a no-brainer purchase for Surface Pro owners and I cannot thank Microsoft and the Xbox team enough for releasing the drivers this week.
Will you buy the Xbox One controller for your Windows machine? Tell me in the comments.