REVIEW – Xbox 360 Wireless Controller For Windows: Black Edition

By Marty Mulrooney


With many games being ported over from Xbox 360 to PC nowadays, I thought it would be a good idea to invest in a decent controller. And what better choice than the official Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows? This has been available for some time in both wired and wireless models. Here, I will detail the pros and cons of my recent purchase of the snazzy black wireless edition for AMO’s readers.



  • Design -  This is exactly the same design-wise as the controller you would find bundled with the purchase of an Xbox 360. Now, I have always been a PlayStation man. Yet I have to admit this is a really well designed controller. It has a pleasing weight to it with the buttons and sticks feeling tight and responsive.
  • Installation – I installed the controller within mere minutes. These were made before Windows 7, so I was a bit weary then the supplied driver disk informed me that it couldn’t run on my system. Luckily, plugging in the supplied Crossfire Wireless Receiver for Windows via USB automatically downloads a compatible driver. Thereafter, I was up and running almost immediately.
  • Compatibility – Any Game For Windows LIVE branded game should work automatically with this controller. Furthermore, when a game does pick it up, all on-screen prompts are translated to correspond to the pad. Plugging it in to play Braid was a painless joy.
  • Battery Life – I have had this controller for nearly 2 weeks now and the battery is still showing as full. A quick download of the most recent Xbox 360 Accessories Status program from their site allows the pressing of the central logo button on the pad to display how much power is left, replicating the console experience. Superb.


  • Packaging – The controller is packaged in that god awful tomb-like plastic encasing that evil manufacturers seem to utilise with glee. Frustration doesn’t even begin to describe opening the packaging. Even with scissors, it is frankly ridiculous how hard it is to remove your purchase from its plastic grasp. This was actually the longest part of getting the controller installed.
  • Paraphernalia – The controller comes with all manner of wasteful slips of paper. One to discuss the safe disposal of batteries. The other a diagram of installing the controller (plugging it in!) in eight different languages. Finally, the instruction booklet is technically only two pages long, yet this number is multiplied into an epic novel’s length due to every language under the sun getting their own translation of Microsoft’s legal mumbo-jumbo. How would you even return this thing if something went wrong after attacking it with scissors anyway? I considered myself lucky that I hadn’t taken a chunk out of it during its excavation!
  • Power – The controller cannot be turned off manually. You have to wait five minutes before it powers down automatically, wasting valuable battery power. The upside to this is that a quick push of the release button on top of the battery case does the same job, but isn’t that somewhat of an oversight design-wise on Microsoft’s part?
  • Compatibility – This isn’t really Microsoft’s fault, but the Game For Windows LIVE brand is starting to let PC gamers down. Most recently, Bioshock 2 on PC had no controller support at all. Since earlier this week, I have also been in the Ubisoft forums waiting for a patch for the recent PC release of Splinter Cell: Conviction due to botched wireless controller support. There were also issues with their release of Assassin’s Creed 2 on PC so this is looking like the start of an unhealthy trend. Still, if smaller studios like Telltale Games can have their new series of Sam & Max work perfectly well with this controller, instances where it isn’t supported highlight a lazy developer issue more than anything else.

In conclusion, this is a wonderful pad when it works and even when it doesn’t it is hard to be annoyed at the controller itself. There are several wonderful programs and profiles available to get this working on older games too so its potential uses are vast. It offers a responsive, lag free experience and I am overall really pleased with my purchase. I just wish game developers weren’t so lazy and would support it more consistently!

9 OUT OF 10


Filed under Games

15 responses to “REVIEW – Xbox 360 Wireless Controller For Windows: Black Edition

  1. My second favourite pad behind the trident-like N64 controller! I’ve not used it with a PC, but holding down the home button in the middle on the 360 allows you to turn just the controller off.

    I think Ubisoft just hates PC gamers altogether, if it’s not draconian DRM, it’s pap controller support. Assassin’s Creed 2 using the keyboard? No ta.

    • Marty Mulrooney

      Ubisoft seem to have totally lost the plot. My Splinter Cell: Conviction review on AMO is indefinitely on hold until they fix the broken controller support. I actually bought the controller in anticipation of this game’s release as well!

      Also, holding the home button doesn’t power down here sadly! Would have made sense though.

  2. Spot on review, Marty. I agree with all your points. The packaging is horrendous and the inability to power down completely is an oversight. Everything else apart from this is utter brilliance, it’s easily my favourite gaming pad.

    By the way, if you’re looking to put gamepad support in any game you want, check out Pinnacle Game Profiler – I use it and it has a tonne of configuring options that makes it well worth the price.

    • Marty Mulrooney

      Thank you for the kind words Pinchpenny, it has been a while my friend.

      Thanks for the link too, that looks like a great program to get this pad working with older games!

  3. John

    I agree that it would be nice to be able to turn it off.

    However, it turns itself off after about 5 minutes of inactivity, and the battery use in that time is almost nothing, so it’s really not that big a deal.

  4. dodsferd

    how about portability?

    How long is the wire from the Wireless receiver?

    • Marty Mulrooney

      The cable is apparently 160cm: I haven’t even unravelled mine though as I would rather keep it tidy and it resides close to my PC’s rear USB ports anyway.

      Since it is wireless though, it doesn’t really matter about cable length once it’s plugged in? Can be hidden away really! Signal seems strong.

      • dodsferd

        thanks for your reply, but I meant for portability if I want to carry it around with my laptop, in a backpack.

        I’m deciding which is more portable (in size and weight): Wired controller (Controller + wire) vs Wireless controller (controller + receiver w/cable + battery pack).

        Whats your opinion?

      • Marty Mulrooney

        Ah sorry, I misunderstood. I feel that the Wireless controller is very portable: the battery pack stays in the controller anyway and the receiver and cable are not very bulky either. I don’t think the Wired would take up much more space, but then again I find that the Wireless is more practical to use without a long cable getting in the way (which would apply even more when using it with a laptop I would imagine!)

  5. steve s

    sorry but i find your review on the wireless controller very wrong so far in the way of game support.
    wireless version is not as well (if at all supported) by games for windows live games.
    does not work at all in batman arkham asylum
    resident evil 5
    only game i’ve found it working on so far after 2 days messing with the damn controller is ghostbusters.
    wireless version is a total waste of money comparwed to the wired.
    support sucks.

    • Marty Mulrooney

      I have found that the controller works with the majority of Game For Windows Live games. Where it hasn’t, you have to remember it is the fault of the game developers themselves and not Microsoft. I have used the controller with all of my games since I bought it and the only one I have had any trouble with at all is Splinter Cell: Conviction, which has now been patched.

    • It works perfectly well for me in Batman. Perhaps it’s a problem on your end rather than the fault of the controller?

  6. godspeed

    I have this controller and I find it to be a pain in the ass when you want to play older games with a controller… I have to mod the controls file to work on most of my games

    example.. if you want to play ut2004 you have to go through a damn guess and check process by manually editing the controls (.INI) file

  7. Richard


    Has anyone tried using TWO of these concurrently to play two player – i.e. PES 2011 or FIFA? Does the game recognise both simultaneously and do they conflict with each other?

    • Pinchpenny

      Richard, although I haven’t tried PES or FIFA specifically, I can confirm that every other multiplayer game I’ve played is able to recognise both controllers simultaneously without problems.

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