Microsoft has announced a welcome, if expected, surprise with news that its Xbox 360 controller will be PC compatible.
I say “expected” because it has long been known that the pad will use a USB connection and since the console runs a customised version of Windows it can’t have been the greatest programming challenge to ensure compatibility. It is also a smart piece of thinking by Microsoft since the PC is infamous for lacking a pad that can hold a torch to those of its console rivals.
In fact, if you’re like me you’ve given up completely on the cack-handed attempts of PC peripherals makers and simply bought yourself a PS2 converter box and plugged in what are currently still the best controllers on the market. I got mine from notorious PSP importer Lik Sang and, trust me, when playing PC versions of games like Pro Evo Soccer it makes the world feel a better place.
As for the Xbox 360 controller itself, the layout shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for hardcore gamers. It carries four, not six, buttons to the right side but is otherwise instantly recognisable. The only oddity is the “Ring of Light”, though this simply brings up the Interactive menu on the Xbox 360 and will no doubt have a similar effect when used on a platform like Windows Media Centre.
We’ll see the controllers in December, launching in conjunction with the console, and retailing for £24.99 apiece. It could be a good idea to get one for practice on your PC as rumour has it the Xbox 360 waiting list will be severe.