Just as you can't put an Xbox game disc inside of a PlayStation and expect it to work, it has become a common accepted fact that you simply cannot use your PlayStation controllers with your Xbox and vice versa. But it doesn't have to be that way. The Cronus Cross-Over Gaming Device spans that great divide between consoles, letting you use just about any controller on just about any console that you want.
The editorial sample was graciously provided to us by the fine folks at Canadian Joysticks, the same people from whom you can find the Qanba Arcade Stick Bag, among several other gaming products. So, is the Cronus really that straightforward? Can I really use an Xbox controller with a PS3?
What Is the Cronus?
People have their preferences. Certain fans of first-person shooters, for example, might prefer the trigger buttons found on the Xbox 360 controller, but Tekken fans migh prefer the directional pad on the PS3 controller. The crux of the idea with the Cronus is that you can use a number of different controllers on a number of different systems, including the PC. The Cronus device itself is roughly the size of a standard USB flash drive and it comes with a basic display on top to let you know what's happening.
The main market here has to do with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but the interesting thing is that you can even use a Wii Remote on your Xbox if that's what you want to do. It supports both wired and wireless controllers (with optional adapters) and it is compatible with original controllers right out of the box. Support for third-party controllers continues to grow through firmware updates too.
Just Plug and Play?
In the past, the only way that you could "cross over" a controller from one console to another was to do some sort of hard mod. You'd have to break open the controller and fiddle with its innards in one way or another. With the Cronus, that's largely unnecessary. There's a simple USB interface that makes things super simple.
If you go to the product page on Canadian Joysticks, you'll find a series of instructional videos that detail how you can use certain controllers with certain consoles. You plug, you play and then, well, you play. In fact, it's even possible to use a computer keyboard and mouse on your PS3.
Using a PS3 SIXAXIS Controller on an Xbox 360
To test how easy it is to use the Cronus, I decided to try using a PS3 SIXAXIS wireless controller on my Xbox 360. First, I plugged the Cronus into my Xbox. Then, because of the way Microsoft handles things, I had to "authenticate" by plugging in a wired Xbox 360 controller. Once that happened, I removed the Xbox controller and plugged in the SIXAXIS controller using a USB cable.
But the SIXAXIS is a wireless controller. Inside the package that I received was a simple USB Bluetooth adapter. After pairing the SIXAXIS to the Cronus, I unplugged the USB cable and inserted the Bluetooth adapter. This paired the (wireless) SIXAXIS with the adapter almost immediately, but it inexplicably dropped the connection after a few seconds. This is despite the player 1 LED remaining lit on the SIXAXIS for some time. I'm not exactly sure why this was the case and it may have to do with the Bluetooth adapter.
If you'd like to use an Xbox 360 controller on a PS3, you will need the first-party Microsoft wireless receiver too. To use a Wii Remote on an Xbox, you simply pair it to the Cronus via the USB Bluetooth dongle by holding the 1 and 2 buttons on the Wii Remote, just as you would to pair it with your Wii.
What About Other Controllers?
As I said above, the Cronus works with first-party controllers right out of the box with no hassle. The expansion to third-party controllers continues to grow, but this will take time. For instance, when I switched the EightArc Fusion Arcade Stick to PS3 mode and attemped to use it with the Cronus on my Xbox 360, it simply didn't register at all.
I was not able to test them myself directly, but I've also been told that the most (if not all) of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band instrument controllers are not yet compatible with the Cronus either. However, because they are continually pushing out updates and the Cronus is still a relatively new product, this compatibility could drastically improve very soon.
MEGATechie Killer Crossover or MEGATechie All Crossed Up?
The Cronus Cross Over Gaming Device is a fascinating concept for people who really have their preferences for what controller they want to use to play what game on what console. It is totally lag-free, as if you're using native controllers, and the level of support continues to expand. The firmware updates via Cronus PC Tools will help to support more accessories and the Cronus itself can store up to 9 user programs in flash memory.
Retailing for $59.99 online, the Cronus isn't terribly expensive but it's not exactly cheap either. The issues I experienced with wireless are somewhat troubling, but when you consider just how easy this is to use (especially compared to far more complex hacks), the Cronus becomes quite the compelling solution for the discerning gamer.