Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows is a USB device that will allow
you to use any Xbox 360 wireless controller with your PC. Not just the Xbox 360
gamepad including headset support, but any wireless Xbox 360 controller and up
to four of them at a time (assuming you can find a PC game with four player
Installing the receiver is easy enough; just place the driver disk into your
computer, install the drivers, and then plug the receiver into a USB port.
Unless you have Vista, that is. Surprisingly the receiver does not come
with Vista drivers, so you'll need to hunt them down on the Microsoft site
first. Once you do Vista will recognize the device and you can move on to
the next step of synching the controller with the receiver. This is
accomplished by pressing a button on the receiver and controller, and after that
it only takes seconds for the device to register the controller.
Once a controller is recognized, you'll see an icon resembling the controller's
guide button on the screen indicating that the controller was detected.
Just like on the Xbox 360, the icon will also indicate which of the four
controller positions the controller was assigned to. Well on Windows XP it
does; I never did see the screen indicator appear on the Vista machine I tested
the receiver with.
If you're playing a game with gamepad support, the receiver works great.
The Xbox 360 controller is nicely-designed and gives you good control of the
action. If you're playing one of the new Games for Windows so much the
better. Halo 2 on Vista recognized the 360 controller and mapped out the
buttons just as they are on the Xbox version of the game (with the bumpers
taking over for the black and white buttons, of course). However if you're
hoping to use your new Xbox 360 controller on a game without built-in gamepad
support, then you're out of luck. The Gaming Receiver inexplicably ships
without any kind of button mapping or game profiling software. This
oversight pretty much means that the Receiver only supports gamepad enabled
games. If you're planning on going the Vista route and being a part of the
new Gaming for Windows trend which is the wave of the future in PC gaming, then
this issue may become moot before too long. Still, some legacy support
here would have been nice.