While gaming is a worldwide hobby that millions around the world enjoy, there are many challenges that can arise from a traditional controller or gamepad setup for those with physical disabilities or limited mobility, and now Microsoft is taking a big step towards providing a more accessible control alternative with the newly-announced Xbox Adaptive Controller.
Today, Microsoft has officially unveiled the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which is a specialized controller that provides several accessibility options for gamers with disabilities. The Controller itself features larger proportioned A and B buttons, a D-Pad, the Xbox home button, Snap and Menu buttons, alongside a number of ports to allow numerous types of alternative control options to be plugged into the Controller itself for specific inputs. The Adaptive Controller is compatible with both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
In the official announcement post from Xbox’s Phil Spencer, he described the creation of the Adaptive Controller as “a journey of inclusive design, which celebrates and draws inspiration from people who are often overlooked in the typical design process” when it comes to developing control options and games in mind for gamers with disabilities or limited mobility.
The controller itself was created in conjunction with several organizations around the world, including AbleGamers, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Craig Hospital, SpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged, which each contribute aid and support those with physical/mental disabilities or limited mobility around the world. Each of the organizations provided their input and suggestions in helping to shape the design, ergonomics, and accessibility of the Adaptive Controller to suit the specific needs of certain mobility options and configurations.
Spencer explained that Microsoft’s goal for the controller was to make it “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.” Microsoft has also worked with several partners, such as Logitech, Quadstick, and more, to ensure compatibility for third-party devices with the Adaptive Controller – a list of recommended partner devices from Microsoft can be found here.
Aside from the numerous ports at the front that can accommodate various kinds of joysticks, switches, pads, and more, the Adaptive Controller’s built-in buttons can all be reprogrammed to work as any of the standard controller inputs through the Xbox Accessories app.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller will retail for $99.99 and is available exclusively through the Microsoft Store. More details about the controller will be shared at E3 2018, and Microsoft stated that it will be launching later this year. Pre-order information for the controller will be shared by Microsoft “soon.”
In the meantime, you can check out Microsoft’s official announcement video and an explainer video of how the controller works below. You can also find an extensive image gallery with up-close renders of the Adaptive Controller, the various peripherals it will be compatible with, and the controller in use: