Since launch, the wired USB Xbox 360 controllers have worked with Windows XP via simple driver installation, which was a nice, if rarely used, feature. Support for, and the desirability of, a gamepad for the PC has traditionally been pretty questionable. Genres that would require one, like fighting or platforming games, have never made much of a splash on the PC, and there are few who’d choose a gamepad over a mouse and keyboard combo for FPS titles. Complicating the matter further for those so inclined is the fact that very few games natively support gamepads or joysticks which leaves players, at best, with the hassle of manually assigning commands to the controller buttons, and at worst, unable to use a controller at all due to the game not recognizing the analog sticks.

That’s all about to change with DirectX 10 and Vista. To qualify for the “Games for Windows” branding, game developers will be required to, among other things, support all Xbox controllers via the ‘DirectInput’ subset of DirectX. The requirement should finally make a gamepad a feasible option for hardcore and casual PC gamers alike and will be a strong factor in unifying Vista as a gaming platform.

[ From IGN ]