Video games are a beloved pastime for millions all over the world. Microsoft is working to make game playing more accessible with its upcoming Xbox Adaptive Controller, which allows you to plug in an array of peripherals that players with limited mobility are able to use much more conveniently compared to a standard gamepad.
Gaming controllers, specifically in their existing form, can present a major barrier to entry for many players. A basic fact that able-bodied people often overlook is that two hands and dexterous fingers are necessary to use one.
“In the U.S. we estimate that 14% of Xbox One gamers have a temporary mobility limitation and that 8% of gamers have a permanent mobility limitation,” Navin Kumar, director of product marketing for Xbox accessories. “We felt like we needed to do more for this audience.”
Explaining the project as being “years in the making”, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has written of how the project came from making something which could cater for the needs of individual gamers:
“Our goal was to make the device as adaptable as possible, so gamers can create a setup that works for them in a way that is plug-and-play, extensible, and affordable,” he wrote. “In addition to working with common adaptive switches that gamers with limited mobility may already own, it has two large buttons built in. These buttons can also be reprogrammed to act as any of the standard controller’s button inputs via the Xbox Accessories app.”
The Xbox Adaptive Controller will retail for $99.99 when it goes on sale at the Microsoft Store later this year. Its low price is just as crucial for individuals as it is for charities like AbleGamers, which often provide controllers through grants to people with disabilities.