Microsoft banning ‘unauthorized’ Xbox controllers and accessories

Microsoft announced that it will start banning “unauthorized” third-party controllers and accessories on its Xbox Series S and X consoles starting November 12.

The move was first spotted by Resetera forum users who reported receiving warnings stating “connected accessory is not authorized” when connecting certain controllers on their Xbox consoles.

Gaming accessory maker Brook Gaming, which specializes in fighting board and steering wheel adapters, has since reported seeing a similar warning for its devices.

Following this, a support note from Microsoft warns that it will be banning any unauthorized accessories two weeks after detection.

“From the moment you connect an unauthorized accessory and receive error code 0x82d60002, you’ll have two weeks to use the accessory, after which time it will then be blocked from use with the console,” stated Microsoft in a support note. “At that time, you’ll receive error code 0x82d60003. We encourage you to contact the store or manufacturer where you obtained the accessory to get help with returning it.”

Third-party controllers that belong to the “designed for Xbox” hardware partner program, remain unaffected.

Some players have posited that the new policy could be Microsoft’s attempt to crack down on devices such as the XIM and Cronus Zen adapters that modify controller inputs and allow players to cheat in popular online shooters such as Rainbow Six Seige and Call of Duty: Warzone 2. However, while the move could positively affect one competitive genre, it may have negative ramifications for others. (Read: Microsoft admits that Xbox Game Pass hurts game sales)

Players and content creators from the fighting game community pointed out that Microsoft banning unlicensed controllers hurts fighting game players on Xbox. Competitive fighting games often see players using customized controllers using third-party control boards customized to fit their ergonomic needs.

As content creator Maximilian “Maximilian Dood” Christensen pointed out, the policy discourages players from hosting events on Xbox. He specifically called it a “death sentence” for events on Xbox in a post tagging Xbox CEO Phil Spencer and Xbox Game Studios Head Matt Booty.

Of course, consoles disallowing unauthorized and unlicensed peripherals isn’t new and is indeed the status quo for Sony’s PlayStation consoles. However, competitive fighting game players have more choices for licensed controllers on PlayStation 5. In addition, Xbox’s openness in the past has allowed some third-party peripheral manufacturers, such as Brook, to focus more on getting past Sony’s security, knowing that it wouldn’t have to do the same amount of work to get its custom boards to work on Microsoft’s console.

With Microsoft actively banning unlicensed third-party controllers and peripherals, manufacturers like Brook will likely focus more on PlayStation. Doin so makes sense, considering that fighting games tend to be much more popular on that console, but again, it hurts the already shrinking fighting game scene on Xbox as a result.

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