Microsoft has revised its Xbox One controller and added some cool features, but it doesn’t work with everything right out of the box.
I just received my custom Xbox One S controller from Microsoft’s Xbox Design Lab earlier today, and I’ve found that it will not connect to the in-home game-streaming Steam Link box from Valve Software. I’m testing out the S controller’s features, and I’m enjoying the improved grip, the extended range, and the Bluetooth connectivity. Previous Xbox controllers all used proprietary tech that required gamers to purchase a special adapter to connect the joypad wirelessly to something like a PC. Bluetooth compatibility means you no longer need that adapter for wireless gaming on a Windows machine or even on most Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. But it’s disappointing that this excellent controller still won’t connect to one of the better devices for playing PC games on a television.
The problem is that the Steam Link will need specific Bluetooth drivers to get the Xbox One S controller to function. Microsoft won’t start shipping the S until August 2, when it debuts for $60 alongside the new, slimmer Xbox One S console. So unless Microsoft gives Valve the controller and the drivers early, for testing, we’ll have to wait until Valve’s engineers can get their hands on the device to figure it out on their own.
This isn’t the first time a Microsoft wireless controller solution has failed to function with the Steam Link. In October, the Xbox company released the aforementioned adapter that enables gamers to play games on their PCs without a wire between the computer and the Xbox One controller. But that adapter did not function with the Steam Link, because Microsoft didn’t provide Valve with the necessary licensing and know-how to get the USB adapter working on the Link.
While the Wireless Adapter still doesn’t work on Steam Link, Bluetooth is far more open than that dongle. And you can likely expect that Valve will get support for the Xbox One S controller built into its devices at some point in the future.