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How to Use an Xbox 360 Controller on the Nexus 7

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The Nexus 7 tablet delivers great gameplay for games like ShadowGun THD and Max Payne, but touch screen controls can’t compare to using a controller.

Thankfully, it’s easy to use an Xbox 360 controller to play games on the Nexus 7 tablet.

All you need is a wired Xbox 360 controller and a small Micro USB to USB OTG adapter, which costs about $8 at Amazon. This adapter allows you to plug in the wired Xbox 360 controller.

Xbox 360 Nexus 7 controller

This adapter allows you to use the Xbox 360 controller as a Nexus 7 controller.

Watch me play ShadowGun THD and Dirt 3 on OnLive using the Xbox 360 controller in our demo video below.

While Jelly Bean and the Nexus 7 support the use of a wired controller right out of the box, not every game will work right.

GTA III doesn’t offer the ability to map controls to a controller, so I am able to play, but I cannot use the trigger buttons to control the game.

ShadowGun THD and Max Payne work great and ShadowGun even allows me to configure the controls. If you are looking for Nexus 7 games that work with the controller, download the free NVIDIA TegraZone app and look for games with the controller marker.

Tegra Zone Controller Games

The NVIDIA TegraZone app identifies controller capable Android games.

OnLive is working on support for the Onlive Wireless controller, but until then I am able ot use the wired Xbox 360 controller to play some games. As you can see in the video I am able to play Dirt 3 without any issue.

Games like HomeFront and Batman Arkham City will not load on the Nexus 7, so I cannot test the compatibility of the Xbox 360 controller. I’ll continue to try to use the OnLive app with the Xbox 360 controller to see if the games start working.

This isn’t the most portable and streamlined solution, but until companies like Nyko get their Android controllers to market this beats touch controls.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

8 Comments

  1. joshc

    07/21/2012 at 9:09 pm

    Hey thanks for this. Real shame though it can only be used with a wired controller, so not sure if I’ll use it. Given so few games are supported I think I’ll stick to playing on the Nexus 7 and console for the xBox. Well at least for now….. Nice work with the video!

  2. Chris K

    08/03/2012 at 2:50 pm

    I see that you wrote this a couple weeks ago, but I was able to get my OnLive controller to work, no prob. The problem I DID have was with OnLive itself. The app wouldn’t connect to the service. According to OnLive support, the app has compatibility issues with the N7.

  3. rynelanders

    10/03/2012 at 7:27 am

    Hey, quick question- does the adapter provide USB host mode? Not many tablets have that, and I was wondering if that was a feature of the Nexus 7, and that’s why the controller worked, or if the adapter itself provides that functionality or is just a full-size USB port for the controller?

    • sarah

      12/09/2012 at 12:46 pm

      no, if you wanted it to work like a normal usb port, download nexus media importer

  4. Pau

    10/30/2012 at 9:07 am

    What kind of xbox 360 controller that can be used since I saw that there is an xbox 360 controller for Windows… thanks!

    • Chris

      11/22/2012 at 11:09 am

      That’s the one, Pau. They only call it “for Windows” because that’s the only platform that is officially supported.

  5. Smarter thantheaveragebear

    06/02/2013 at 2:00 pm

    I just plugged in a 360 controller and played gtaiii on my nexus7 and everything worked, even the trigger buttons. Awesome.

  6. Snorky

    07/26/2013 at 3:12 pm

    No as in “yes”, it does provide a USB host. It’s just that to mount a filesystem there requires root. I have made HDs work there, USB DACs and various other things, it’s a perfectly decent USB host controller.

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