Within a month of the Microsoft XBox 360 being released, Microsoft was selling the wired USB controller for XBox 360 owners and also PC gamers who desired a gamepad. For those who got wireless controllers with their 360 or for PC gamers who wanted that same wireless capability on their PCs, there was no option. Now, Microsoft has made available the Windows Gaming Receiver, which creates connectivity between your PC and your XBox 360 wireless accessories for use with your Windows based computer. This is not limited to the wireless 360 controller, it also allows for usage with the Microsoft XBox 360 wireless steering wheel and Xbox 360 wireless headset along with support for future accessories.
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I had thought about purchasing a USB 360 controller for my computer a few months back for non-first person games, however, I was reluctant to as I already had a wireless controller that came with my Xbox 360 console and wasn’t so sure about spending another $40.00 for a wired controller. I then heard about the wireless gaming receiver that was coming to stores, and decided to wait for its release. The XBox USB controllers were selling for $39.99, while the Wireless Gaming Receiver was to be $19.99 and would allow me to make use of the controller I already had, so the savings and convenience would be worth the wait. I ended up purchasing the wireless receiver from the game store I work at, of course getting an employee discount. Without discount, it would be $21.59 with 8.00% sales tax.
The packaging is straightforward, the only problem is it’s somewhat hard to open.
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Setting up the wireless receiver is fairly quick and simple:
- Load up the installation/driver CD packaged with the wireless gaming receiver
- Connect the USB gaming receiver to your PC with it’s 5 foot USB cord
- Turn on the wireless device to be connected (make sure to disconnect your Xbox 360 console if you have one, so that it doesn’t come on)
- Sync the wireless receiver and device
The process is very easy, even for PC novices. Once it’s setup your device is ready to be configured for gaming. The only problem is many PC games don’t support 360 controllers or gamepads in general, and therefore require 3rd party software like Xpadder to make gamepad usage possible with certain games. The main tests came with using the wireless 360 controller and wireless receiver combination with the games Call of Duty online and Counter Strike: Source online by using Xpadder to make it viable. Despite clearly being an inferior form of FPS control, especially with the mouse being a much more intuitive form of aiming, using a gamepad-for-movement with mouse-for-aiming set up proved to be a great form of control. The play was lag free as the wireless controller and receiver use a 2.4 GHz connection, making the experience really great, especially not having to worry about a cord restricting one’s movement.
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If you don’t want to use your wireless controller or keyboard and mouse for a racing game and instead want to opt for the Xbox 360 wireless racing wheel, it’s fully supported as well as the wireless headset. The driver CD that’s included works with Windows XP of course and with Windows Vista. I run it on a Windows XP based PC with my games installed via that OS. The only problem so far is the current lack of support for specific use of Xbox branded accessories, however, Microsoft has been pushing to change that. Crytek has stated themselves that Crysis will be fully compatible for using the Xbox 360 controllers so you can enjoy a more console-like experience like that of the Xbox 360, so support is on the way. Of course you can opt for 3rd party software to increase functionality like I did for the games that don’t support the hardware. It’s well known though that non FPS games do tend to support gamepads such as Flight Simulator X and Tomb Raider: Legend, which work quite well with the 360 controller. I don’t have the Wireless Steering Wheel or Headset, so I couldn’t review there usage with the receiver unfortunately. The receiver supports up to 4 devices/controllers simultaneously if desired, just like the Xbox 360 console.
In conclusion, the Microsoft Wireless Gaming Receiver is great for using with the well made accessories that were until now only accessible to Xbox 360 owners. One can expect a well made and well functioning product that certainly delivers on what it promises. The only problem in justifying the purchase is whether one already has the wired 360 controller for their 360 already or doesn’t have any Xbox 360 controllers/devices at all, where one would pay $39.99 for a USB controller, or end up paying the combined price of a wireless controller and the wireless receiver which adds up to about $70 US, not including tax. And of course, it also comes down to necessity, but necessity is the mother of invention, hence why Microsoft created the Wireless Gaming Receiver for PC gamers wanting to use Xbox 360 devices. I would recommend this accessory if you need a gamepad for certain games and also desire a wireless connection that is equal to the one enjoyed by Xbox 360 owners.
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- Good price at $19.99
- Supports multiple device types
- Supports up to 4 devices simultaneously
- Full Windwos XP and Windows Vista support
- High quality 2.4 GHz connection with no lag
- Great if you already have Xbox 360 wireless accessories and want to use them on your PC
- 30 ft wireless range
- Easy setup and installation
- Current direct support for the 360 gamepad is little (more and more games are supporting it though)
- If one doesn’t already own any wireless 360 accessories for their Xbox 360, the combined cost of the wireless receiver and the device/accessory might drive one away
- 5 ft cord can tangle easily when transporting around the receiver.