Surface team takes to Reddit, reveals Xbox 360 controller support

With a week and a half to go until launch, Microsoft is keen to generate buzz around its upcoming Surface tablet. The first TV ad for the device aired on Monday, and pre-orders began on Tuesday morning. Later yesterday, members of the Surface team took to Reddit to answer some questions from the public.

Now, the thread is a lengthy read and may or may not be worth your time. For the Cliff’s Notes version, you can head over to Lilliputing, which has a convenient, point-by-point rundown of the highlights from the question-and-answer session.

As Liliputing notes, one of the points Microsoft discussed was the Surface’s support for peripherals like printers, keyboards, cameras… and Xbox 360 USB controllers. Ricardo Lopez, Test Manager for the Windows RT Surface, posted in the Reddit thread to say, “We used the 360 usb controllers to play with Surface all the time and they work great. We have not tried Kinect yet.”

That’s a big deal, I think. Tablets are approaching the level of horsepower of modern consoles. The Tegra 3 SoC in the Surface for Windows RT certainly has plenty of graphical oomph. However, touch screens don’t really allow for the kinds of titles we see on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. If enough Windows RT games implement support for the Xbox 360 controller, perhaps that could change. The fact that the Surface has a “kickstand” that props it up at 22° in landscape mode definitely doesn’t hurt, either.

Comments closed
    • aim18
    • 7 years ago
    • dashbarron
    • 7 years ago

    It can’t really replace a 360 or a PS3 if the Store won’t even let you download half of the titles.

    • blitzy
    • 7 years ago

    supporting the wirless controller without requiring a dongle would be much more useful

    • tootercomputer
    • 7 years ago

    Buzz buzz buzz . . . just what MS wants right now for the Surface (and W8).

    I look forward to independent reviewers getting their hands on the RT and Pro versions, especially the latter.

      • Ricardo Dawkins
      • 7 years ago

      I’m fully endorsing and recommending the iCNET reviews. 😉

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Xbox 360 support shouldn’t be limited to USB only.

    Assuming the games running on ARM are worthy of a control-pad experience, it shouldn’t be that hard or expensive for Microsoft to allow the wireless controllers to work with the tablets. It annoys me that I have to have a couple of old, white, wired controllers for my HTPC because the wireless ones are a nightmare of 3rd-party workarounds to get going.

    • Shambles
    • 7 years ago

    Windows has supported the 360 controller for years, I’d assume RT would as well. Good confirmation though.

    And even if it weren’t let’s be honest. If they didn’t support it someone else would find a way to do it. A la ‘getting the start menu back in windows 8’.

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      Yep, just like any old Android tablet with BT does. How is this news?

      “We support our own hardware!” Well, good for you.

        • Shambles
        • 7 years ago

        As far as I know the 360 controller does not use BT. If i’m wrong please correct me. I know the PS3 controller does. I swear I’ve seen the 360 controllers for PC have a USB wireless adapter specifically for them.

          • nafhan
          • 7 years ago

          360 controller is MS proprietary, not BT.

          Android supports BT game controllers, and, specifically, I have heard of people using PS3 controllers. I have not had any desire to use a game controller with my phone. So, no personal experience 🙂

          Edit: I have one of the dongles that lets you use the wireless controllers with a PC… A PC that is also equipped with Bluetooth.

          • willmore
          • 7 years ago

          Thanks for the correction. I was thinking of the PS3 controller.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            Yup. PS3 controllers (and Wii controllers, IIRC) use BT.

            Although as a MS specific device, it would be very cool if Surface didn’t need the extra adapter to use a 360 controller.

      • Ricardo Dawkins
      • 7 years ago

      Exactly, my friend. Check the Vivo Tab from ASUS video where they showcase a game playing with the Xbox 360 wired controller
      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX76Rsh3XjM[/url<]

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 7 years ago

    “we have not tried Kinect yet”

    So basically you are a marketing team and not anywhere close to “developers developers developers” that worked to make sure that this new MS product would broadly work with other MS products, and also have a *reason* to use them? You’re also saying that 360 controller support is just as an afterthought, and you will most likely have issues with it for anything you would actually want to use it with?

    ok, good to know.

      • grantmeaname
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t follow. Anyone who hasn’t tried something you think they should have must be a marketer?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        They should know if there are drivers built into RT for the Kinect. Whether or not any apps support it is a different story, though.

    • tanker27
    • 7 years ago

    Seems to me that Surface has just been now handed an identity crises. Is it a PC? Is it a tablet? But wait, is it a console?

    Jack of all trades rarely work. Pick something and excel at that.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      may be an issue, but idk. unreal games work on it, but who wants to carry a controller around?

        • cygnus1
        • 7 years ago

        i personally wouldn’t transport a tablet except in some sort of bag for protection and to carry the charger along. i’d throw a controller in their for sure if it actually had compelling supported games

      • spuppy
      • 7 years ago

      If you own a current tablet, you would realize how utterly useless they are for anything other than reading/viewing/the occasional touchscreen friendly game.

      Try doing anything productive on the ipad. You can’t. Or at least you will be fighting it non stop. Even inputting data on simple spreadsheets is a pain. On the ipad 1 and 2, switching between apps often (most of the time) results in huge lag spikes and pauses due to insufficient ram.

      And so on

      The ipad and other tablets designed like it are toys, and nothing more. Gimmicks. Surface looks like it will do all the ‘fun stuff’ and more.. we’ll have to wait and see of course, you may be right. But IMO this is possibly the tablet we have been waiting for.

      • Generic
      • 7 years ago

      The PC is a ‘Jack of all trades’, and I’d give up a console or any specialized piece of hardware over a PC any day of the week.

      The x86 Surface will be yet another form factor for the PC; one that happens to do touch better than other form factors; nothing more.

      Wait a few years. We might get smartphones that are PCs. Want to work? Connect to a large format display, KB and Mouse. One can dream right?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Seems to work for the iPad.

      • Arag0n
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, you are right… that’s why people buy smartphones. People is not looking for a device that can be used to access Internet and play games, be used as GPS and at the same time give several useful applications for daily life use besides being a phone.

      People voted with their wallets that they want a phone that is awesome as phone, a camera that takes awesome photos, a stand alone GPS for the car and carry a laptop to access the information and Internet.

      That’s why the market leader in phones is the Nokia 3310.
      The best selling camera is the Canon D60.
      The best selling GPS is a Tomtom.
      The best selling internet device is a thinkpad.
      The best selling portable game system is the Nintendo DS.

      Get real man, the reason jack of all trades usually doesn’t work is because a device needs to be more expensive or do great trade offs to get those extra jacks. iPhone is a clear example of a device that is a jack of all trades and works wonderful. Xbox is also another one that showed that consoles can be more than games and hey, even laptops/desktops were hugely adopted because people could use them for work, entertainment, social and information.

      iPad does too many trade offs to be a real long term perspective tablet solution. Android is much closer to what Surface offers to users and general public than the iPad. The real difference here is that Surface keeps aesthetics, easy of use and consistency. Android is losing the opportunity to shine as a world-class system because Google is holding it back on laptops and desktops in order to favor Chrome OS. I believe Android can be tweaked and worked to be all, Smartphone, Tablet and Laptop OS, with games and apps designed for the different form factors but all of them sharing the same basic desktop, list of apps and widgets. Let applications run in a window or at least, define a multitasking for 2 or 3 apps at the same time, and you have a system that can be used as laptop replacement for many people. Android already has access to filesystem and that’s the real difference between iPad and Android. You can import and export files to other users without the cloud neither limitations.

      Until Android goes the Windows 8 way in an opposite direction, from smartphones to laptops instead of laptops to smartphones. Android will not be as competitive in long term as Windows. iPad and iPhone in any case, will stay as a small segment of the market, just as DSLR’s are now a very tiny percentage of all cameras sold worldwide, because you know? Smartphones are also cameras.

      • rrr
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, basically another toy to show off how are you coolest kid on the block, rather than practical tool for clearly defined purposes.

      • nafhan
      • 7 years ago

      Not an identity crisis at all. The past couple versions of Windows have supported Xbox controllers out of the box… I’d be more surprised if Surface DIDN’T support them.

      What would be cool is if they could use the wireless controllers without a dongle. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case: “We used the 360 usb controllers” 🙁

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