Microsoft's Xbox One controller won't work with PCs until next year

Yes, at launch, you won't be able to plug an Xbox One controller into your PC and have it just work. According to Microsoft, in a quick chat with VentureBeat , new software has “to be written and optimised for the PC.”

While they look very similar Microsoft states that the two controllers don't really share the same technology at their hearts. The Big M's spokesmen cite a new wireless protocol “and additional features like Impulse triggers” as why they're only going to be compatible with the Xbox One from launch. They do expect to be able to get the controllers working across the range of PC games which supported the ever-popular Xbox 360 controller some time next year.

But a year is a long time to wait for some PC drivers to be written for what is essentially a PC-based console peripheral. Why care? Well, the original Xbox 360 controller is still one of the finest PC gamepads around, though Razer did a fine job of upping the ante . The Xbox One version is apparently sporting some forty odd design improvements to justify the R&D dollars Microsoft has thrown at it.

Most of those design changes are based around the ergonomics, streamlining the grip, removing any screw-holes and adding in those Impulse triggers, complete with the tickly haptic feedback motors attached to them.

Fingers crossed we'll get some enterprising techie types messing around with the controller as soon as it's launched, though. I would expect to see unofficial drivers pretty quickly.

But as advanced as the new controller is set to be, it's surely still not going to be as accurate or versatile as the classic keyboard/mouse combo for many games. Personally, for some arcadey games I'll switch on my wireless 360 pad, but for the most part I'm still bound to my Corsair Vengeance K70 and Shogun Bros. Ballista MK-1.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.