Microsoft has released the first official drivers for pairing the Xbox One controller with a Windows PC, as it opens pre-orders for the Kinect for Windows v2 depth-sensing camera platform.
Microsoft's presence in the console market leaves it spinning two plates at once: while it's keen for the console itself to succeed, it's also aware that its bread and butter comes from the Windows operating system and supporting ecosystem. As a result, it frequently takes technologies originally developed for the Xbox line and ports them across to its Windows brand - as with the original Xbox 360 gamepad, which remains one of the most popular controllers among PC gamers next to the traditional keyboard and mouse, and the Kinect for Windows camera system.
Now, the company has released the first standalone driver package for adding Xbox One controller compatibility to Windows. Switching from the Xbox 360 pad to the Xbox One, Microsoft claims, brings with it increased comfort, a better directional pad and the improved offset analogue sticks. Better still, the similarity between the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers mean that any game set up to recognise its predecessor will automatically work just fine with the Xbox One pad without reconfiguration.
Sadly, at present only the controller's tethered mode of operation is supported: anyone wanting to use the Xbox One controller with their PC or Windows-based tablet will need to connect a micro-USB cable between the two. Although this means no concerns about the battery running down during a gaming session, it's not exactly ergonomic compared to the controller's default wireless mode.
At the same time, Microsoft has opened pre-orders for the Windows version of the Kinect 2 depth-sensing camera system which launched with the Xbox One. Boasting a higher resolution than its predecessor and the ability to read a person's pulse rate remotely, the Windows variant is being offered to developers for £159 with a view to shipping following the new software development kit's launch in July.
The drivers are available for direct download in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions on Larry 'Major Nelson' Hryb's website
, while Kinect for Windows v2 pre-orders are available on the Microsoft Store