Microsoft, today announced the launch of a new controller specially designed for people having limited mobility. Phil Spencer, the Head of Xbox, says “As I discussed at the annual DICE conference in February, when we truly design for all, we help make the world more equal. That’s why I’m so excited about today’s Microsoft Story Labs featurewhich shares an in-depth look at our newest piece of hardware which we believe will enable and empower even more Xbox One and Windows 10 gamers across the globe: The Xbox Adaptive Controller.”
He further added “
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.
Joining the Xbox family of controllers and devices, the Xbox Adaptive Controller was created to address these challenges and remove barriers to gaming by being adaptable to more gamers’ needs. It was developed in partnership with organizations around the world, including The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Craig Hospital, SpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged. We worked closely with them and directly with gamers who have limited mobility to assist in our development. 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. 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.
To make the Xbox Adaptive Controller a viable solution for the widest possible range of gamers with limited mobility, we’ve worked closely with third-party manufacturers to support external inputs which can be plugged in to the new controller. These inputs include PDP’s One-Handed Joystick for the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Logitech’s Extreme 3D Pro Joystick, and Quadstick’s Game Controller. We couldn’t be prouder to have their support in introducing the Xbox Adaptive Controller. More recommended partner devices can be found here.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller has been years in the making, though we realize that this is only one step along our journey of inclusive design and that we have more work ahead. This has been a passion project for people around the world, both inside Microsoft and beyond. We’re thrilled to introduce it to the world today, tell the story behind it, and take what we have learned on our journey to inform future initiatives in inclusive design. Make sure you check out today’s feature on Microsoft Story Labs and hear directly from Microsoft Chief Accessibility Officer Jenny Lay-Flurrie in her blog today to commemorate Global Accessibility Awareness Day.”
The controller is priced at just $99.99 USD and available exclusively through Microsoft Store, and will offer significant value over the customized alternatives that exist today. The Xbox Adaptive Controller will be launching later this year, and Microsoft will be sharing more information soon about pre-order availability.