Microsoft has developed a controller to cater to the needs of people with disabilities. Set for release later this year, the new Xbox Adaptive Controller is a customizable device intended to support a wide range of needs and disabilities. Video games can be more accessible because it meets the different needs of PWDs. It will retail for $99 and will be sold worldwide via Microsoft digital stores.
The focus of the device is on connectivity and customizability. Players can build a setup that works for their capabilities and needs. Although it won’t be an all-in-one solution for many games, the Xbox Adaptive Controller’s use of peripherals and the Xbox’s system-level button remapping can help cater to the different needs of the players.
The controller features two large buttons on the face, which can be operated with hands, elbows or feet. It is designed to be placed on the player’s lap, on a table, or on the floor, allowing for some control options.
Gabi Michael, Senior Xbox Hardware Program Manager, said, “We think the traditional Xbox controller is an industry-leading design, but it’s not accessible to gamers with limited mobility.” He added, “They usually require custom solutions which can cost thousands of dollars and a lot of technical expertise to set up; you often have to go to a non-profit organization to get them made, and there are waiting lists. We wanted to solve all those problems; we created the Xbox adaptive controller to be accessible and affordable.”
The main feature of the Xbox Adaptive Controller is the row of 3.5mm ports along the rear of the pad, representing each of the inputs and buttons on the standard controller. Using these 19 ports, players can plug in a range of add-on devices such as bite switches, foot pedals, touch-sensitive pads and other accessibility products that are either already available or have been developed specifically for the controller by third-party manufacturers.