Microsoft is continuing their goal of converging all of the industry's devices into one coherent ecosystem with new Xbox Wireless options. If you haven't been following the topic, recently it was announced that PC gamers wanting to use an Xbox controller with their PC could do so wirelessly on the new Xbox One controller with an adapter or Bluetooth as opposed to the standard wired plugin. They've also announced the first PC with built-in Xbox Wireless support straight out of the box, no separate adapter required, and have detailed future plans for Xbox Wireless compatibility to be built straight into motherboards, as well as partnerships with recognized companies to put out headsets and other accessories that connect into the Xbox One ecosystem with no strings attached.
The new Xbox Wireless controller
has built-in Bluetooth and is also compatible with PCs or tablets when used with the Wireless Adapter
. Essentially users have a choice if they want to connect via Bluetooth or with Xbox Wireless using an adapter. But what's the difference between the two types of connections?
Bluetooth is a commonly-used short-range wireless technology that is used to connect devices. You've surely used it on your phone with perhaps a Bluetooth headset, or in combination with your PC or tablet. Bluetooth is built into many devices, but not all. Since Bluetooth is so commonly used, there is often interference when many devices using Bluetooth simultaneously are in one place.
"Xbox Wireless" on the other hand is what Microsoft calls the technology that allows your controllers to sync with your Xbox One. Microsoft boasts that it has lower latency for more devices and is designed for gaming whereas other connection methods are designed with other goals in mind, such as communication. Just like the Xbox One, Xbox Wireless on your Windows 10 PC can support up to eight controllers with just one adapter, but it doesn't just support controllers — it will support any Xbox Wireless compatible device like music game accessories or headsets. Instead of having your separate controller adapter and your headset adapter, they'll all be compatible with one Xbox Wireless adapter. It also doesn't mean that these devices will only work on your Windows 10 PC — it means that there will be wireless headsets and accessories on the market that connect to your Xbox One's built-in Xbox Wireless technology right out of the box with no adapter required.
Xbox Wireless adapter
Microsoft's goal for the future is to slowly eliminate the need for adapters and to increase gamers' convenience level by partnering with hardware companies to integrate Xbox Wireless capabilities directly into motherboards. They've already announced a complete PC that has an Xbox Wireless adapter built into the chassis — the Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 Cube
. It's a gaming PC that is launching in October that hopes to provide gamers with all of the features that they're wanting right out of the box. For gamers who are already satisfied with their rig but want to get their hands on Xbox Wireless technology, that's where the wireless adapter and future integration into individual hardware pieces comes in.
Microsoft has already confirmed partnerships with a number of recognizable companies that will be putting out products that will fit seamlessly into the Xbox Wireless ecosystem. These companies include Astro, HyperX, Lenovo, Mad Catz, PDP, Plantronics, Razer, SteelSeries and Turtle Beach. That way, in the case of Xbox One, you won't have to worry about having several different cords and adapters because it will already be compatible with the Xbox Wireless technology that is built into your console. On Windows 10, all that you'll have to worry about is having one Xbox Wireless adapter. Products that support Xbox Wireless can easily be identified with the pictured logo. An example of a product already on the market that supports Xbox Wireless is the Rock Band Wireless Fender Jaguar Guitar Controller.
For Xbox and Windows 10 gamers, this is looking to be a potentially great way to connect all of their devices without cluttering up the living room or office. Although there are currently not many third-party devices that are supporting Xbox Wireless, Microsoft has promised that the ones that we have seen are just the first of many.