'Xbox Wireless' lets you connect a wireless Xbox One controller to your PC without a dongle

Could Xbox One Wireless and PCs like Lenovo's IdeaCentre Y710 mark the first step in Microsoft's shift toward Xbox as a service?


Microsoft's Xbox Wireless communications protocol trivializes the act of connecting a wireless Xbox One controllers to your PC. As a matter of fact, the company claims that its proprietary Xbox Wireless tech bridges the gap between any Xbox accessory and your PC, and the Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 desktop is Exhibit A.

"Today, we’re continuing to expand the way gamers can connect their Xbox One accessories to their PC by announcing the first PC with integrated Xbox Wireless — the Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 Cube," wrote Xbox Wire editor-in-chief Will Tuttle. "With built-in Xbox Wireless, this PC supports all Xbox One wireless accessories — such as the Xbox Wireless Controller — straight out of the box, without needing any additional adapters or wires."

Lenovo pulled back the curtain on the IdeaCentre Y710 PC at Gamescom earlier today. The specs are impressive, which only makes sense; Lenovo's positioning it as a gaming PC equipped for out-of-the-box VR gaming. It runs Windows 10, boasts 32GB of RAM and up to 2TB in HDD storage or a 256MB SSD (the "or" contraction comes direct from Lenovo's announcement), graphics card options up to an NVIDIA GTX 1080, and up to a sixth-gen Intel Core i7 processor.

You'll be able to get your hands on a Y710 as of this October, with a price starting at $1300.00. But that's not what piqued my interest in the computer, or in Xbox Wireless. What interests me is the seamlessness with which the technology will enable you to connect controllers and other Xbox One peripherals.

Microsoft is quick to list off other perks inherent in Xbox Wireless, such as low-latency play for up to eight devices, wireless support for stereo sound through headsets, and cutting back on wires and wireless adapters. However, between a deep well of Xbox One games made available through the Windows Store and Play Anywhere, and true plug-and-play functionality made possible through Xbox Wireless, any PC seems tailor-made to replace rather than complement an Xbox One console.

From Lenovo's announcement: "With Windows 10 and the Xbox app, you can stream Xbox games from your Xbox One to your Windows 10 PC. For even more control in your favorite games, the Cube also comes with the option of an integrated Xbox One Wireless receiver, including an Xbox One wireless controller."

In fact, the Y710 stands as an example of a PC that essentially is an Xbox One—and it's only the beginning. "In the IdeaCentre Y710, for example, we are using the Xbox Wireless Adapter and integrating it inside the physical chassis – the first time this has ever been done officially. In the future, we plan to enable direct integration of Xbox Wireless into PC motherboards with our hardware partners."

Tuttle goes on to say that "Going forward, you should expect to see both new PCs and new accessories that support Xbox Wireless as we create new ways for our fans to play seamlessly across devices."

Microsoft is wise to put its eggs in more than one basket. Remember, this is the same company that advocated PC gaming one day only to all but ignore it the next. At the same time, I wonder if it's going out of its way (inadvertently or intentionally) to convince consumers who don't already own an Xbox One that there's really no reason to invest in one if they own or plan to own a beefy gaming rig, even with Xbox "Scorpio" upgrade coming next year.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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