Hold on, gamers. If you’re using third-party controllers and accessories with your Xbox, you might soon be out of luck. Microsoft has thrown a curveball at its user base by blocking unauthorized Xbox controllers and accessories. People noticed this (via The Verge) when a warning started popping up on their Xbox consoles. Microsoft claims it’s a move to keep the gaming ecosystem safe and healthy, but is it all as simple as that?
Imagine you’re about to have a heated gaming session with your pals. You plug in your third-party Xbox controller, and bam! You’re hit with a “connected accessory is not authorized” warning. Microsoft isn’t just warning you, it’s giving you a timeline. After two weeks, that unauthorized accessory is as good as a paperweight. This isn’t something to take lightly, significantly if you’ve invested in non-official accessories.
The exact reason for Microsoft’s decision is still not clear. Some think it might be a move to stop cheating, as some controllers allow for modified gameplay. Others speculate that Microsoft wants to encourage people to buy from its official partner program. These are all reasonable guesses, but Microsoft has yet to explain clearly.
Interestingly, this move might hurt specific gaming communities more than others. Take the fighting game scene, for example. These communities often rely on third-party controllers and adapters for their local events. With this new policy, these could be in jeopardy. Maximilian Dood, a prominent figure in the fighting game YouTube scene, goes as far as calling it a “death sentence” for local fighting game events on Xbox.
Xbox console-related product Issue Update pic.twitter.com/QK0N41LmHW
— Brook Gaming (@brookgamingfans) October 20, 2023
If you have controllers and accessories with the ‘Designed for Xbox’ logo, you’re in the clear. These are part of Microsoft’s hardware partner program and won’t be affected by the block. But unauthorized third-party devices, like those from Cronus Zen or Brook Gaming, are on the chopping block.
With all this in mind, where does it leave the average gamer? Some third-party controllers have advantages gamers love, like better grips or customizable buttons. Plus, they often come at a lower price point than Microsoft’s official gear. Could this move be an indirect way for Microsoft to monopolize the Xbox accessories market? Until Microsoft offers a thorough explanation, we can only speculate.