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First World Problems: PC Games Don't Support USB Controllers Anymore
Posted on Sunday, May 4 2014 @ 17:34:06 Eastern

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.

Has anyone else noticed that pretty much every single recent PC game, from the biggest triple-A titles to the smallest indie games, only has gamepad support for the Xbox 360 controller? Because I've noticed that, and it really annoys me.

I don't know when this started. But at some point, Microsoft put some new code into the Windows OS which treats the Xbox 360 controller differently than a third-party USB controller. Rather than use the same function call for both, Windows has the same code for the 360 controller that the Xbox itself does.

I understand the reason for it. On the developer's side, it makes porting games from Xbox Live to the PC (or vice versa) a bit easier. Want to have gamepad support for your PC port? Don't change a thing, and the 360 pad will work just as well as on the actual 360. Meanwhile, from Microsoft's side, it encourages PC gamers to buy another Microsoft accessory, which pads their bottom-line profit margin.

Unfortunately, we gamers lose out, because suddenly we have fewer choices. What if you have a preferred USB device? Or what if you don't have a 360? Or what if you don't have a way to connect your 360 controller to your PC? Whatever the case, too bad. Your only option is to fork out extra money to get a 360 gamepad working on your PC.

Or, if you're like me, you find a work-around, but that's the subject of a different blog post (if I ever get around to writing it).

This *REALLY* annoys me.

It's a small issue in the grand scheme of things, but it's still a symptom of monopoly. The big business takes away the customers' options, because it's easier to make money when there's no free market competition. And this is far from the first time that Microsoft has pulled monopolistic stunts like this.

So, for those who aren't happy about having to use a 360 controller on your PC games, what are our options? Well, the work-around I linked above is one possibility. I'm also hopeful that SteamOS will allow users a bit more freedom to choose our hardware than Windows currently does, though we'll have to wait and see on this one.
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