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Microsoft Releases Dual-Platform Game Controller

For gamers who have struggled through a less than stellar PC gaming experience and long for the console experience, Microsoft has announced the retail availability of the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows.

In an effort to make the gaming experience equally enjoyable whether you play on the Xbox 360 or a Windows XP (search)-based computer, Microsoft has released this controller aimed at PC gamers.

"For the first time, gamers can simply unplug their controller from their Xbox 360 system and plug it into their Windows XP-based PC," said Chris Donahue, director of the Windows gaming and graphics team at Microsoft, in a news release.

"This is a great breakthrough for the gaming industry as we make it easier for developers to create multiplatform titles."

The soon-to-be-released Xbox 360 Core System (search) and the Xbox 360's wired controllers also can operate as PC controllers.

Users will need to download the driver from Microsoft to use them on their PCs.

The driver can be downloaded from Windows Update, at windowsupdate.com,or at the Microsoft Hardware Web site.

These new cross-platform controllers will provide the same features as the Xbox Core System and Xbox 360 controllers. Xbox 360 (search) users will have access to this controller as well.

The ergonomic design, force feedback vibration support and button layout will now be usable on both platforms using the same controller.

The wired controller has a 9-foot controller cable that plugs into a computer or the Xbox 360's USB ports.

Other notable PC game pads include products from Logitech, but these game pads do not work on other platforms at this time, while the new Microsoft controller works on both the Xbox 360 and PC Xbox games.

According to a company statement, the controller is widely available in North America for an estimated retail price of $39.99, and is expected to be released in Europe and Asia in the coming months.

Two versions of the Xbox 360 console are scheduled to arrive in stores on Nov. 22.

The Xbox 360 Core System will cost $299.99 and the Xbox 360 for $399.99, according to a 1up.com article.

Several of Microsoft's industry partners were supportive of the new controller.

John Schappert, senior vice president and group studio general manager at Electronic Arts, said the controller would help bring more of its catalog to a wider audience.

"THQ is excited about the release of the new Xbox 360 Controller for Windows, as it will give gamers the precise control needed when playing games such as 'MotoGP URT 3' and other titles," said Kelly Flock, executive vice president of worldwide publishing at THQ, in the same release.

"The introduction of Microsoft's first cross-platform controller is an exciting peek at what the future holds for multiplatform development."

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