Although Microsoft throws most of their weight behind their Xbox gaming division, the company still has an obligation to PC gamers. Their Games for Windows platform was often the cause of dismay amongst gamers before it was shut down earlier this year, but the PC gaming sector is far, far too big to leave behind.
Microsoft is still a computer business at its core, after all, with the majority of PC gaming machines running a version of their Windows operating system – and most PC games coming to Windows before they get Linux and Mac compatibility. And, with the PC gaming business worth more money than the console one, it makes sense to cater to a PC audience.
In many ways Microsoft has failed to do that, even being criticized for neglecting PC gamers in favor of their Xbox brand as recently as this year’s E3. So, after announcing that they would do more to support PC gaming, we are now seeing a small example of that as Microsoft has revealed the Xbox One controller for Windows.
The Xbox One controller for Windows joins the already successful line of Xbox 360 controllers for Windows, with many controller compatible games recommending that you use the controller accessory over any other. However, while the Xbox 360 controllers are offered as either wired or wireless, the Xbox One controller for Windows will be both.
On PC, users can plug in the USB cable and play with a wired connection while on Xbox One there’s the option to play with a wired or wireless connection, presumably switching between the two depending on the controller’s charge level. While some might be disappointed that there’s no option to use an Xbox One controller wirelessly on PC (even the already released PC drivers for the controller require a wired connection) the benefits are still there.
For one, Microsoft notes that the controller provides “greater precision” which is incredibly useful in shooters such as big budget PC hit Titanfall. Microsoft chalks this down to “redesigned thumbsticks and an all new D-pad” which seems like an incredibly minuscule tweak on paper but it makes all the difference in the heat of the virtual battle.
Furthermore, Microsoft talks up the controller’s “ergonomic design” and says that its “grips and contours have been designed to fit your hands more comfortably” which will make long gaming hauls less of a (literal) pain. Meanwhile, the Xbox One controller for Windows is compatible with Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 7 whereas the Xbox 360 controller only lists compatibility with Windows 8 so those with an older system will finally be catered to.
There’s also no need to worry about which games will and won’t work with the controller either. Most controller-enabled PC games work with the Xbox 360 controller and Microsoft says that any game that worked with that accessory will work with this one.
What’s arguable, though, is whether this is really Microsoft throwing PC gamers a bone or if they want to make bank off of the necessity of an extra control scheme. Perhaps it’s a bit of both, but it doesn’t answer the calls for Microsoft to release more games for PC and to generally do better in the sector.
In any case, the release date for the new controller is ‘soon,’ for the price of USD $59.95.