Microsoft to launch disability-friendly Xbox controller
Microsoft is launching a new Xbox controller, developed to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
Set for release later this year, the Xbox adaptive controller is a customisable device intended to support a wide range of needs and disabilities, making video games more accessible. It will retail for $99 (£73.50) and will be sold worldwide via Microsoft digital stores.
“We think the traditional Xbox controller is an industry-leading design, but it’s not accessible to gamers with limited mobility,” said Gabi Michel, the senior Xbox hardware programme manager. “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 organisation 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 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 a number of control options.
The main feature 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. These will also be on sale via Microsoft stores. In this way, control setups can be highly personalised: players use a dedicated app to create controller configurations, and can quickly switch between three preconfigured profiles using a button on the face of the controller.