A Microsoft spokesperson recently told CVG that the Xbox One controller shipping with the console this holiday season will eventually be compatible with Windows PC in 2014. This will be accomplished by a Microsoft-developed driver, and will supposedly allow the new controller to work with PC games that already support the current Xbox 360 controller for Windows.
"The Xbox One controller, although it looks similar in many ways, shares no underlying technology with the current Xbox 360 controller," the rep said. "New wireless protocol, combined with the ability to work in 'wired' mode, and the addition of features like Impulse triggers, means that new software has to be written and optimized for the PC."
The rep went on to explain that, as previously mentioned, there will also need to be work done to make sure that the existing PC games supporting the Xbox 360 controller will work with the new one. "While it seems trivial, it's actually quite a bit of dedicated work for all that to be seamless for the user," the rep said. "We know people want to use the Xbox One controller on their PC, and we do too -- we expect to have the functionality available in 2014."
The news follows an interview CVG conducted with Xbox Accessories general manager Zulfi Alam who talked about the history of the upcoming Xbox One controller. He admitted that he received "atrocious" feedback from Microsoft executives when he first approached them with an idea to completely redesign the controller back in early 2011. They called the idea "crazy."
But he moved forward with the project anyway. "We interviewed hundreds and hundreds of core gamers, and through those interviews we got a list of improvements that people said they wanted," he said. "Then we added each one of those advancements to the Xbox 360 controller, and each time we tested the new builds on live games. In fact, we were writing actual levels of games to see how well a new feature works."
Gamers testing the Xbox 360 controllers had no idea they were holding what would eventually be the foundation of the Xbox One version -- the team merely made slight adjustments to the current model during each testing session. "The final Xbox One controller may not look different on the outside, but inside it's remarkably different," Alam said.
Microsoft reportedly spent more than $100 million designing the new Xbox One controller. The company will likely get that back in 24 hours of the new console's availability on the market this holiday season.