Some third party xbox controllers

And Microsoft’s latest violation of antitrust laws is…

I am so tired of this company.

2 mins read

Microsoft is going to stop you from using your favourite third-party “unauthorised” controller. From November 12, any effort to circumvent Microsoft’s complete control over the way that you play your games will be met with “error 0x82d60002.”

Yep. It wasn’t enough that Microsoft is buying every developer and publisher, and leveraging its exploitative Game Pass to ruin any independent game development model by ripping the margins out from the entire industry. Now they’re coming for your favourite controllers too, so you’ll be forced to use their ugly and uncomfortable hardware instead.

According to a report (or piece of sycophantic damage control, I’m honestly not sure which) on Windows Central, the reason for this is “likely” to do with Microsoft relaxing its policies around “officially licensing” hardware so that third party manufacturers can finally make wireless stuff for the Xbox, officially. Yes, in 2023, the reason most official third-party hardware on the Xbox is wired is because Microsoft came up with nonsense reasons to prevent wireless connections.

Of course, what it’s actually about is control. Microsoft wants to control everything on its platform, even when it doesn’t have a legal or ethical right to do so. Third-party controllers are an excellent source of innovation and, simply, quality. I use my 8BitDo controllers for as much as I can, for example, because I find their design more comfortable than most “official” controllers, and I like 8BitDo’s approach to buttons and the tactile feeling that I get from those controllers.

Elsewhere, third party manufacturers have done incredible work making controllers that promote accessibility, and those that have interesting features to make games more generally enjoyable.

Microsoft, meanwhile, wants complete control over everything from how games are made to how they are played. This is what informs its monopolistic approach to acquisitions. It’s what drives its “innovation”, and leads business decisions like this.

Microsoft is not a benign company. It is a plague on this entire industry, and it has done more to kill the inventiveness and creativity of the industry than any other company.

I cannot stand Microsoft.

Matt S. is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DDNet. He's been writing about games for over 20 years, including a book, but is perhaps best-known for being the high priest of the Church of Hatsune Miku.

  • Pretty damn terrible and I wonder if this will run afoul EU laws, as these things tend to do.
    I prefer Xbox controllers and use the big Elite one as my PC controller of choice, since I am an adult with slightly longer fingers than average for my frame. But it’s way too big for my girlfriend or my nieces. And I like what 8BitDo puts out as well.
    One could argue “their platform, their rules”, but one doesn’t have to like them. Since twitter people can browbeat companies into compliance on things like perceived racism or “copaganda” in games maybe actual customers can leverage their voices on stuff that matters, like overt corporate control.

    • Given that the EU was instrumental in forcing Apple to stop with its stupid proprietary chargers and adopt USB, there’s actually some good precedent there. The EU does much prefer open architecture.

      On the other hand, the EU was incredibly disappointing in how it waved the Activision acquisition through, so for all we know Microsoft has better lobbyists in the EU than Apple does.

      Still, I really hope so. This is just so blatant that surely there’s one regulator, somewhere in the world, that will draw the line.

  • The best we can do is avoid buying Micro$oft hardware or software as much as possible.
    I have no respect for Xbox’s vision of gaming and will never buy an Xbox if they continue on this path. Thankfully we _still_ have other options for gaming. But for how long?

    • Yeah, Sony for all its faults does seem more open to third party hardware support, and Nintendo is really good on this, typically. The good thing is that Microsoft doesn’t tend to be a trend-setter with hardware decisions, so hopefully this is another case of that. Either way, third party hardware manufacturers will have to be concerned right now.

  • Wow. I didn’t knew it was that bad already. Makes you wonder what sort of hidden shenanigans are built into windows. When I found out that you could not edit or even read the folders where your game-pass games were installed on PC, I quit the free subscription they were throwing at people back in the day.

    I don’t believe in game-pass as a long-term model though. Maybe that is wishful thinking, but something tells me that this just doesn’t work for games. I want to own stuff, come back years later and finish a few trophies instead of browsing an ever changing catalogue (even if many titles stay there forever); it just feels weird.

      • I really hope you’re right on GamePass. My gut tells me it’s going to go the other way, since people said the same thing about ownership with regards to CDs and DVDs, and in both cases the industry was able to convert people to the consumption model to everyone’s detriment (except for the CEOs).

        But we’ll see. Fingers firmly crossed.

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