A Microsoft spokesperson told GamesBeat recently that the Xbox One controller will work with PCs eventually.
The Microsoft spokesperson explained that the new controller is different enough that simply applying the current drivers won’t work:
“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 spokesperson told GamesBeat. The spokesperson added that Microsoft wants the controller to be compatible with existing PC games as well.
It was assumed as soon as Microsoft debuted the controller that it would be PC compatible. The Xbox 360 controller quickly became the standard in PC gaming outside first-person and real-time strategy domains of the mouse and keyboard. The only flaw, really, was that the wireless controller wouldn’t simply work with the Play-and-Charge kit, which transferred power and not data to the controller.
The Xbox One controller, on the other hand, uses a standard Micro USB port and Microsoft said right away that when the controller is plugged into a USB port of any kind, its wireless radios simply shut down, turning it into a wired controller.
While it’s a bit disappointing to hear that it won’t be compatible right away, the “sometime in 2014” time frame the spokesperson offered tells us it’s on Microsoft’s mind as well as ours.