Xbox One controller will work with PCs in 2014

The Xbox 360 controller is arguably the best gamepad you can plug into a PC. We’ve recommended the thing in countless system guides, and I have several of ’em floating between my lab and living room. Microsoft claims to have made 40 improvements to the updated controller shipping with the Xbox One console, and it looks like PC users will benefit… eventually. A Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat that the next-gen controller will get PC-compatible software some time next year.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a more precise time frame for the controller’s Windows support. We do have a sense of the changes that require additional software work, though. In the video below, Xbox Live programming director Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb discusses a number of controller enhancements with Zulfi Alam, the general manager of Microsoft’s Xbox accessory business.

Enhancements like more precise thumbsticks and a crisper directional pad shouldn’t require substantial software changes. However, the controller uses a new wireless protocol that offers 20X more bandwidth and 20% lower latency than what’s available with the Xbox 360 gamepad. You can also skip the wireless connection and plug the Xbone controller directly into your system via its Micro-USB port. The wired and wireless versions of the Xbox 360 controller are separate, so it’s nice to have both connection options covered by a single device.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the new gamepad—and the one that may require the most software work—is its extra layer of force feedback. In addition to a pair of standard rumble motors, the Xbone controller has a couple of smaller ones tied to the triggers. These secondary motors will allow games to adjust the trigger feel for different weapons and vehicles. I’m sure developers will find other interesting things to do with them, as well.

According to Kotaku, Microsoft experimented with a bunch of other controller features, including soft-touch coatings, built-in speakers, an integrated screen, and a form of Smell-O-Vision. Those ideas were all nixed for different reasons, and most of them probably would have added to the effort required to make the controller PC-compatible. Even on a basic level, Microsoft says there’s quite a lot of work involved in getting the Xbone controller to play nicely with existing PC titles. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for Windows drivers.

Comments closed
    • jihadjoe
    • 9 years ago

    Maybe they’re planning to implement auxilliary displays on future controllers? That would be pretty sweet for inventory/character management on team games.

    • jihadjoe
    • 9 years ago

    Every single 360 accessory I have works flawlessly on PC, and Win7 didn’t even ask for drivers.

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    They probably can and have the option to attach more then a headset to the controller. Leaving it open as a IO hub.

    • MFergus
    • 9 years ago

    The headset also goes through the controller.

    • jstern
    • 9 years ago

    Even though I don’t particularly like Sony, at least in the past, I use a PS3 controller on my computer, which can also emulate and X-Box 360 controller with MotionJoy. The D-Pad is just so much better than the 360s. But thank god for the 360 controller and not having to configure the buttons of newer games.

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    Obviously a way for M$ to gather support around their Windows ecosystem, specifically, Windows 8.

    As for this: [quote<]However, the controller uses a new wireless protocol that offers 20X more bandwidth and 20% lower latency than what's available with the Xbox 360 gamepad. [/quote<] Isn't 20x higher bandwidth a little overkill for a ... gamepad?

    • Dr_b_
    • 9 years ago

    looks good something MS is actually doing right, even though it doesnt have chamfered edges.

    • RickyTick
    • 9 years ago

    Forget about using a controller with a PC, I’d be more interested in being able to use a mouse and kb with a Xbox.

    • jss21382
    • 9 years ago

    …I don’t have a single acquaintance with a first gen PS3 still in operation, all experiencing the yellow light, which is more or less the same as the red ring, it just took a little longer.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    It is an open development standard anyone can license.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    Yeah there’s never been a bandwidth/latency issue on my PS3 controller. Just last night I was playing WRC3 2012, a rally game where reacting quickly to the twists and turns of the road are critical, and didn’t have any “latency” issues.

    • Turd-Monkey
    • 9 years ago

    It uses WiFi Direct. NO @@^#$^%%#%#%^%# DONGLE REQUIRED!!!11!!1!

    (Assuming your WiFi card supports it.)

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    So, unlike the Xbox One, this seems to be something that is ingenious and even a bit innovative. It actually looks like the focused on common complaints of most gamers (without taking their word for it) and fixed them. The duel input mode has been on other controllers and it’s quite snazzy. The quad rumblers definitely seems like something that could offer a interesting tactile experience. And of course, it now works with computers by default.

    Honestly, having used X360 controllers before, they’re some of the nicest feeling controllers I’ve used. This looks like they definitely one upped that.

    I’ll more then likely be buying one for my PC and I’ll probably be recommending other people do so as well. It looks like all the bickering and bureaucracy went to the actual console, while this guy ended up being able to actually make headway with the controller and do something positive with his team.

    Congratulations MS, you got one thing right. Ditch the console; Buy the controller.

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    There may be perhaps a issue with range with Bluetooth as well as latency which he described. Having used bluetooth devices I can confirm all of the above. Seems pretty legit to me.

    • sschaem
    • 9 years ago

    How many Ps3 owner have you heard complain about “My controller doesn’t have enough bandwidth! We need more bandwidth!”

    ?? Do you have examples of the xbox360 needing to have 4 people sharing a single screen , and each needing to have a headset ? That sound very exotic and not a reason to cut corners.

    If people are desperate for this senario, they would plug on of the controller/headset to the console.
    And yes, when you plug a controller to the USB port on a ps3, it work via USB.
    Unlike the xbox360 controller, where you need to BUY a separate wired controller to have it work wired.

    Personally this proprietary wireless mode is not a selling point for the xboxone.

    But finally they found a way to make this work… like on the Sony controllers “You can also skip the wireless connection and plug the Xbone controller directly into your system via its Micro-USB port”

    … sigh.. MS will get destroyed this time around…

    • sschaem
    • 9 years ago

    I’m with you. Without buying a special adapter the default control does not work, as it does not provide a functional USB connection.

    You have to buy the wire model or buy a special wireless USB adapter.

    So if you have the default controller (wireless + USB cable) it will not work on PC as is.
    You need to buy this PC wireless adapter. Even then, the optional wired connection will not work.
    Its basically so dumb that the only thing you can do with the USB connection is charge the controller.

    How lame is Microsoft to include a USB cable that doesn’t work as a USB controller ?

    Sony got it right : bluetooth and a FUNCTIONAL usb connection.
    How can Sony control work better under windows then even microsoft own HW ? baffling.

    And its not like MS sell those piece of plastic for cheap. $50 and yet no functional USB port !

    Yes. I totally feel your frustration 🙂

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    Gave ya a thumbs up on the correction. The reason why the ever-changing a/v port on the Xbox line was a problem was because one day I needed a new a/v out for a console so I went to Gamestop to find one. They were selling a third party “all-in-one” a/v that supported Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo consoles. It was basically just a super thick cable with male ends for each standard at the ends. The Sony and Nintendo ports were small and only had 1 end each. The Microsoft end(s) were huge and stupid. Weighed the whole cable down and added cost.

    I always get micro/mini mixed up. I realize the difference between the two. I meant the older standard that you corrected me on. While you might only have a GPS device that still uses that standard, I still see these cables all the time everywhere. They’re almost as ubiquitous as the apple iPod/iPhone cable.

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    or Wii

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    Can it hook up to other devices using an industry standard protocol? Nope. Therefore it is quite limited. Also concerns with latency were addressed with later revisions of BT, bandwidth is sufficient enough to stream HD video (which far exceeds the use cases presented in your scenario) and if more then 7 devices were needed a second BT module is dirt cheap and easy to implement.

    Bottom line is that MS does not want you using non-MS licensed peripherals which is the real reason for the proprietary dongle. The same as logitech.

    • Voldenuit
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]The D-pad on both the original and "improved" 360 controller is awful.[/quote<] Blame Nintendo for trademarking the cross-shape d-pad (and blame the USPTO for letting them). The PS/PS2/PS3 d-pad is pretty horrible, too.

    • SonicSilicon
    • 9 years ago

    While that is said, I’m guessing it’s half aluminated, similar to being half silvered, for a “one-way” mirror effect.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    yeah GET IT RIGHT, FRANK!

    • RachelHarg00
    • 9 years ago
    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    That may be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that the MS proprietary protocol is in fact more capable than Bluetooth.

    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    I thought we were talking about controllers… but yeah, Sony has been making CE a little longer than MS. Personally, I didn’t really care much about the AV cable situation. I needed a different cable with the launch 360 vs original xbox anyway, component vs composite. I’ll admit not including HDMI on the launch 360 was short sighted. But, not many of those have survived so maybe they knew something then and decided to save a few pennies.

    Also, I have a few corrections for you:

    [quote<] Additionally, launch 360's only supported HDMI through this strange, bulky A/V port [/quote<] The launch 360's didn't have any native digital video output. Analog only: composite, component and VGA. The HDMI adapters for launch 360's are analog to digital converter boxes. [quote<] • The PS3 controller uses a non-proprietary, common micro USB cable found with nearly any other smartphone or consumer camera. [/quote<] Unless it's changed at some point and newer ones are different, the PS3 controller in my hand has a mini-USB port, not micro. While yeah, plenty of devices used to use that, micro-USB is the standard now. Literally the only other thing I own that uses mini-USB is an old GPS which has been in a drawer for 2 years.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    ^^^BAM. I forgot about that. Upgradeable/replaceable non-proprietary hard drives in your PS3. Some people even drop SSDs in their PS3s(!)

    • Price0331
    • 9 years ago

    Ha, yup. Check this link out: [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Star_Trek_materials[/url<] Apparently Sci-Fi became real last year.

    • Voldenuit
    • 9 years ago

    I think Sony learned their lesson, or at least, are no longer the consumer electronics and media juggernaut they were when they tried to introduce all their proprietary standards, and have no chance in hell of making them stick today.

    ssidbroadcast also forgot to mention the 360’s proprietary hard disk connector and file format, whereas the PS3 accepts standard 2.5in hard drives.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    Nobody, literally nobody is using their PS3 in the manner you just described.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    Ah, okay I guess judging by the tone of your post you’re referring to Memory Sticks, UMDs, and Flash Drives. For what it’s worth: nobody cares or buys those things. You’re a minority if those things actually effected you.

    And yeah the PSN-hacked/down was pretty much the worse thing to happen to SCE ever. It was bad, but I still think the chronic RROD problem was worse. Way worse.

    • cynan
    • 9 years ago

    Recrafted? All you need is the wireless dongle. No alchemy required.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    Proprietary everything media since…forever? DRM laden media? Malware laden Media? Insecure network and consumer data? Downtime in the weeks?

    Yes, very considerate.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    Actually yeah back in the day the Sidewinder was a great controller for your PC. Not that I played many games that way.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    Okay, well let’s put aside subjective taste (although of course you’re welcome to that opinion, I agree that the 360 controller feels good, the S-controller felt good before it, the hamburger did not feel good) and look at reasons why I think Sony engineers are better:

    • The Original Xbox had a really wide, proprietary A/V port that was different than the succeeding 360’s port. Additionally, launch 360’s only supported HDMI through this strange, bulky A/V port (units later supported native HDMI).

    • In contrast, the PS1, PS2, and PS3 ALL supported the SAME a/v out cable—That’s over ten years of supporting the same standard—making things cheap and convenient for consumers who needed to replace or swap cables. The PS3 also supported native HDMI straight out of the box from day one.

    • The wireless 360 controller charges via USB and that’s all the USB does. Everyone including myself fell for this trap: you want to play a PC game with a 360 controller that you have laying around and you don’t realize you need a stupid flopping dongle JUST to enable what should already work anyways. Additionally, the wired controller has a fixed mount to the controller instead of the removable mount to the wireless. This is confusing, a hassle, and unnecessarily expensive.

    • The PS3 controller uses a non-proprietary, common micro USB cable found with nearly any other smartphone or consumer camera. This cable both charges the controller and allows connectivity. You can download MotionJoy online to get most of the functionality out of your PS3 controller via a USB controller on a PC.

    • The power supply on all of Sony’s consoles are integrated into the machine. The Original Xbox, 360, and XBone will all have external power bricks.

    • Red Ring. Unacceptable failure rate with 360s. The only Sony system I’ve had fail on me was a launch-day PSOne. I have both a ps2 and ps3 (both slim) that are rock solid to this day.

    • 360 is a tray-loaded disc, PS3 is a slot-loader. Small thing but still.

    Anyways, that pretty much sums it up. I’ll admit that the DS3 controller does feel kinda… fragile in comparison to my wired 360 controller. However I’ve never had the batteries crap out and they’ve held up pretty good with use. Also, I happen to like how it feels as well.

    Edit: To Microsoft’s credit, they did pioneer the breakaway-safe point on their wired controllers with the original Xbox. I can recall there being two or three times where that was useful/prevented damage to my controller or console.

    • krazyredboy
    • 9 years ago

    Did he say the XBox button uses “transparent aluminum”?

    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    Bluetooth is actually not as good a choice for wireless game controllers as the MS proprietary. Bluetooth suffers higher latency, less bandwidth, and fewer simultaneously supported devices.

    Simultaneous device support is kind of funny for the PS3. Sony originally touted being able to support 7 controllers. Kind of stupid, because no game supports that anyway. Bluetooth supports 8 devices, but the PS3 counts as one of them so the catch was they really meant 7 total wireless devices. For the PS3, that includes wireless headsets and their media remote. So if you have 4 controllers hooked up for a large multi-player game, only 3 people get headsets and you need to remove your media remote. Xbox can handle that situation with no issue, the media remote is IR and the Xbox can handle 4 controllers and 4 separate wireless headsets (or the junky wired to the controller ones too). While it is an extreme scenario, it shows a limitation with Bluetooth.

    • stdRaichu
    • 9 years ago

    It’s governed by an interests group and a swathe of patents, but it’s still an open standard.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    Bluetooth isn’t proprietary, anyone can use it. You might have to pay a licensing fee to the consortium that created it, but it’s for anyone to use.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 9 years ago

    Bluetooth is proprietary, I thought?

    • Kurotetsu
    • 9 years ago

    I suspect he got confused by the marketing, because in addition to an “Xbox 360 Controller”, Microsoft also sold an “Xbox 360 Controller for Windows”.

    [url<]http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/p/xbox-360-controller-for-windows/52A-00004[/url<] The wired versions of each were exactly the same, just different box text. The wireless versions had 1 difference, the Wireless Controller for PC came with the adapter dongle.

    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t know, I think build quality wise they’re about on par. They just had different design goals. MS went proprietary wireless on Xbox to get better performance than the Bluetooth on PlayStation. Sony went with built-in battery to be more convenient out of the box.

    I’ve personally never liked a single PlayStation controller which has made me dislike all of Sony’s consoles. They’ve never felt good to me like the Xbox controllers have. I think it’s a size issue, honestly. I was hitting late teens, early 20s when the first Xbox came out and I think my hands had gotten big enough to make the Sony and old Nintendo controllers uncomfortable to use. I even went as far as buying a 3rd party, 360 shaped PS3 controller to see if that made a difference. I could definitely play better, but it still didn’t feel as good as the 360 controller. I just never could like the PlayStation…

    • superjawes
    • 9 years ago

    Zing.

    And an excellent point.

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    They did invent bluetooth for a reason.

    • Xenolith
    • 9 years ago

    What non-proprietary wireless protocol would you recommend?

    • Xenolith
    • 9 years ago

    I am using both wired and wireless 360 controllers on my PC without issue. What the heck are you talking about?

    • Airmantharp
    • 9 years ago

    I sure wish there was. I use a wired 360 controller for helicopters in BF3, and the damn thing rumbles off the desk sometimes when I’m not using it. I’ve considered some creative ‘surgery’ to fix this issue.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    Yeah, even though I made a glowing post, overall I’d say that Sony’s engineers are way, WAY more considerate of their consumers than Microsoft.

    • Mad_Dane
    • 9 years ago

    Don’t understand this MS closing of ecosystem, I think they underestimate the marketing value of pictures, which portraits PS users with xbox controller connected. I know I would always use the xbox one due to my hand size, even the xbox one is waaay to small for me. I wish there was a small, medium and large options in controllers.

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<] However, the controller uses a new wireless protocol that offers 20X more bandwidth and 20% lower latency than what's available with the Xbox 360 gamepad.[/quote<] ARRRRRRRGH!!!!! ANOTHER @$%^#$%&%&%#$%@% PROPRIETARY DONGLE!!!!

    • slowriot
    • 9 years ago

    There’s generally an option to disable rumble in console games, right? Can you disable it for all games as some kind of system setting? I get that some people enjoy controller rumble but I personally find it extremely annoying.

    • deinabog
    • 9 years ago

    No, you’re right. The wired version worked perfectly with the PC; it was the wireless model that had to be recrafted to run on Windows.

    • deinabog
    • 9 years ago

    I agree. Their Sidewinder controllers were some the best I’d ever used.

    • superjawes
    • 9 years ago

    Huh?

    I thought the wired (USB) 360 controllers worked with PC and the wireless ones [b<]were[/b<] compatible with PC via a (proprietary) USB dongle...did I miss something?

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 9 years ago

    The D-pad on both the original and “improved” 360 controller is awful.

    • Jive
    • 9 years ago

    Even years later, it still infuriates me that Microsoft made the standard Xbox 360 controller incompatible with the PC, forcing you to purchase a separate PC only controller.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    I heard someone describe their experience at e3 with the controller. For one particular game, a helicopter flew by from left to right, and reportedly the rumble in the controller crescendo’d accordingly. He said it felt super cool.

    I give Microsoft a lot of crap, but they generally know what they’re doing when it comes to controllers.

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