Gamer's Town

Microsoft is Paying Attention to Disabled Gamers



All attention was on Microsoft a few days ago when they revealed the Xbox adaptive controller. This new adaptive controller gives disabled players a comfortable and accessible way to play games without having to spend a fortune. It retails for about $99.99, significantly less than the $149.99 elite controller. The elite controller was the only customizable option for disabled gamers apart from creating their own completely custom setups. The elite controller is able to have different components swapped out. Though, it was not created with disabled players in mind. This controller was just the closest thing to an on brand controller that could be almost fully customized. Disabled gamers have gone to great lengths to build their own controllers, but the problem they often face is expensive parts and no guaranteed support to ensure that all pieces work together.

A New Level of Customization

Xbox’s new controller fixes that. It has an impressive amount of 3.5 mm jacks in the back of the controller. 19 to be exact, all mapped out to different buttons you’d find on the regular controller. The player can plug in various add-ons like foot pedals, bite switches and other accessibility gear that they may need. This allows for a whole new range of customization never seen before in any official Xbox controller. Now, players can purchase add-ons that can plug in without much fuss. This is a cheaper alternative to custom-built controllers. Three preconfigured profiles are already on the device. By using a custom software players can create their own.

The controller has two giant buttons in the middle of it. These can be mapped to any function the player chooses. These buttons are designed to be used with either hands, elbows or feet. There are two USB ports on either side of the controller, the usual connectivity button that syncs the controller, a standard D-pad and Xbox menu buttons.  The controller itself is rectangular and measures about 11 inches long. It isn’t a small device, which works to its advantage. The player can use the adaptable controller on their lap or place it where they are most comfortable with. Because of the slightly raised back, the controller can sit quite nicely on a table or floor.

 

The adaptable controller works not only on the Xbox One, but any PC that runs windows 10. It is supposed to work right out of the box.  Therefore, no set up is required. Just plug the controller in and play. This also allows the player to swap out any add-ons mid game, with no complicated set-up needed. Two controllers can be connected at the same time.

Inclusiveness is a Priority

Perhaps the nicest thing about this controller is the Xbox logo. It resembles the logo used on a regular controller.  As a result, this promotes inclusiveness. It looks and feels like a Microsoft made controller. The player is not made to feel like an other, but simply a gamer.  The design was created back in 2015. It was for a Microsoft accessibility hackathon. Development has gone through several revisions and has been worked on with various organizations and industry leaders. Involved, was also an occupational therapist. Today, we have a spectacular result. The controller is set to release later this year and will be purchasable on Microsoft’s online store.

 

The creation of this controller has made a huge impact on the gaming industry. It has cemented Microsoft as a company who creates experiences for all gamers, not just able-bodied gamers. It is a bold industry move that will hopefully inspire other companies to follow suit. Not only that but hopefully it will draw awareness to accessibility issues in the industry and create a more mainstream way for disabled players to be part of the community.

What do you guys think of this new design by Microsoft? Let me know in the comments below.




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