Despite leaks earlier this week, Microsoft has now officially revealed the new Xbox Adaptive Controller, an Xbox controller that’s specifically designed for people with disabilities. The device, seen in the above video, comes with two large programmable buttons on top of a total of nineteen jacks. These jacks can be used to connect to a host of joysticks, switches and buttons to make for a more seamless experience for those that otherwise struggle to use the traditional controller. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer states:
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. On our journey of inclusive design, we have taken a wider view of our fans and a more inclusive approach to designing for them.
For gamers with limited mobility, finding controller solutions to fit their individual needs has been challenging. The solutions that exist today are often expensive, hard to find, or require significant technical skill to create. A number of individuals and organizations are creating custom solutions, but it has been often difficult for them to scale when most rigs need to be so personalized.
Since its reveal earlier today, the feedback has been outstanding. Microsoft Store learning specialist Solomon Romney, who was born with no fingers on his left hand, praised the new device, going on to say that:
I get to redesign my controller every day and get to choose how I want to play. For me, that’s the greatest thing ever. I can customize how I interface with the Xbox Adaptive Controller to whatever I want. If I want to play a game entirely with my feet, I can. I can make the controls fit my body, my desires, and I can change them anytime I want. You plug in whatever you want and go.
It takes virtually no time to set it up and use it. It could not be simpler. It goes to the core of everything I am, everything I’ve grown up with, everything I’ve experienced. It’s nice when a person considers you. It’s unbelievable when a company does it, when a company thinks about you, designs something for you. All of a sudden, I’m not the person on the outside.
That’s exactly the point of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. It’s a controller that excels in its customization and accessibility, enabling players of varying disabilities to comfortably enjoy their hobby, more now than ever before. Throw this frankly amazing kit with the general ability to remap buttons and there’s no doubt whatsoever that the depth of functionality is near limitless. The Xbox Adaptive Controller is set to launch later this year and will retail at the very affordable cost of $99.99 or region equivalent.
It’s products and considerations like this that puts Microsoft out in front as far as innovation is concerned. The Xbox Adaptive Controller is a prime example of Microsoft’s willing to be a widely accessible platform. It’s a shame to glance over on social media and see competitive brands and their followers taking the piss, but in the midst of all of that, it goes without saying that Microsoft’s integrity is rarely matched. Gaming has come one hell of a long way and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down, despite industry struggles.
Though, with that in mind, the traditional controller has always been the forefront device to bridge the connection between a player and the universe that they’re immersed in. The Xbox Adaptive Controller, together with its ability to connect to existing peripherals, will only improve the size of this pool. Another great feature is that the kit supports Copilot, which allows players to pair with a standard Xbox One controller. This allows to functionality to be shared across both, suiting those that have limited ability in just one hand.
Profiles can be created to keep track of specific layouts to save setup time, but as pointed out above by Romney, setup is achieved quite quickly. It’s clear that the development of the Xbox Adaptive Controller has been a very careful process with a lot of thought going into it. Microsoft states that they plan to show off more in a few weeks time at E3 2018 and we can hardly wait. Once again, if you want to get a first hand look at the Xbox Adaptive Controller in action, take a look at the video at the head of this page.