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Xbox will start banning unauthorized controllers next month

The fighting game community is not happy

Xbox owners have reportedly been told that their unauthorized, third-party controllers won’t be supported much longer, via a message that’s been popping up on consoles informing players of the change. The messages were first noticed last weekend, and seem to affect any third-party controller that hasn’t been officially licensed by Microsoft.

According to a report from Windows Central, when players plug unauthorized accessories into an Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S console, an error message comes up that reads “A connected accessory is not authorized.” The message goes on to say that the use of unauthorized accessories “compromises your gaming experience,” whatever that means.

Players will have until November 12, 2023, to replace their unauthorized controllers, and Microsoft has suggested in the error message that they seek refunds.

The ban seems to affect cheap, unlicensed controllers – the kind you’d see for suspiciously cheap on Amazon – as well as higher-end products from companies like Brook, which sells a very popular PCB for custom fighting game pads. Brook released a statement on its website in response to the issue, saying that players may encounter “functional disruptions in the near future.”

A universal fighting game PCB from Brook

Brook's universal fighting board lets players create cross-platform accessories

“Recently, we have received player feedback concerning these products when used on Xbox consoles during online gameplay,” Brook’s statement reads, “An error message may appear: ‘A connected accessory is not authorized.’ We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause you. The Brook engineering team is fully committed to developing a solution to maintain product quality and functionality. Please trust that we will spare no effort in identifying potential solutions”

Players are concerned that it could have far-reaching implications beyond the fighting game community, too. While Brook PCBs are typically used for fighting pads, some players have used them as a more versatile – and often cheaper – solution to accessibility controls, as they allow for a wider range of accessories than Xbox’s official Adaptive Controller.

Others still are concerned that this could affect players outside of officially supported Xbox countries, where officially-licensed accessories might be harder to get.

Hardware creators will still be able to apply to have their products officially licensed, a program Windows Central says will be expanded soon, but it comes at a cost that may be prohibitive to smaller companies. It’s unknown if Microsoft would allow the licensing of converter PCBs like Brook’s too, as official licensing typically excludes components and focuses more on complete products.

Microsoft has yet to publicly comment on the story.