Microsoft reveals Xbox Adaptive Controller for disabled gamers

Image credit: microsoft

Microsoft has introduced the Xbox Adaptive Controller for its Xbox One console that has been designed for disabled users who have difficulty operating the standard control methods.

The new controller is adaptable to fit the needs of individual users with various modular extensions such as foot pedals and specially designed buttons available.

“By taking an inclusive design approach and considerations of gamers who might not be able to reach all the bumpers and triggers or hold a controller for an extended period of time, for example, we were able to design a controller that provides a way for more fans to enjoy gaming,” Xbox chief Phil Spencer said in a blog post. 

“On our journey of inclusive design, we have taken a wider view of our fans and a more inclusive approach to designing for them.”

Xbox Adaptive Controller

Image credit: microsoft

The new hardware was developed in partnership with various organisations supporting disabled people around the world, including The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Craig Hospital, SpecialEffect and Warfighter Engaged.

In addition to working with common adaptive switches that gamers with limited mobility may already own, the Adaptive Controller has two large buttons built in.

These buttons can be reprogrammed to act as any of the standard controller’s button inputs via the Xbox Accessories app.

Various third party manufacturers have worked with Microsoft to ensure the maximum level of adaptability is possible such as support for PDP’s One-Handed Joystick, Logitech’s Extreme 3D Pro Joystick and Quadstick’s Game Controller.

Quadstick, one of the more unusual accessories, allows quadriplegics to use their breath to control their in-game character.

The joystick has four sip/puff pressure sensors and a lip position sensor, which can be assigned to output to any game controller button or axis, or to any mouse movement, button or keyboard key. 

The mapping between the inputs and outputs can be customised by the user and changed quickly while playing a game.

“The Xbox Adaptive Controller has been years in the making, though we realise that this is only one step along our journey of inclusive design and that we have more work ahead,” Spencer said.


Image credit: microsoft

At the controller launch event Spencer hinted that the device could eventually be available on other platforms as well.

“I will never turn this into a Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft thing,” he said. “Anybody, literally anybody who wants to learn from the work we’ve done here – or even try to do more than that with the work we’ve done here – I’m completely open to that. It doesn’t have to have an Xbox logo on it. Let’s just allow more people to play.”

The device will be available for $99.99 (£74) through the Microsoft Store and more details will be shared at massive annual games conference E3, which takes place in June every year.

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