Microsoft on Thursday May 17th, introduced its new Xbox Adaptive Controller, designed specifically for gamers with disabilities. The new hardware can be used for game play with an Xbox One console or Windows 10 PC, and it offers Bluetooth plug-and-play compatibility.
It supports Xbox Wireless Controller features such as button remapping, and it connects to external buttons, switches, joysticks and mounts. Microsoft developed the Xbox Adaptive Controller to enable gamers with physical disabilities to customize their respective setups.
Microsoft partnered with several high-profile global organizations who are dedicated to providing accessibility to those with physical disabilities: The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Craig Hospital, SpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged. Microsoft developers also worked directly with gamers who have limited mobility.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller will be available later this year for about US$100 which is approximately 36,100 Naira.
What Inspired The Making Of XBox Adaptive Controller ?
The inspiration for the Xbox Adaptive Controller was a 2014 social media post featuring a photo of a custom gaming controller made by Warfighter Engaged, a nonprofit organization that develops gaming controllers for disabled veterans.
It caught the attention of a Microsoft engineer, which resulted in a hackathon at Microsoft’s 2015 Ability Summit, where the first prototype of a controller for people with disabilities was developed. Now, three years later, the final product is about ready for the market.
Unlike the standard unit that is held in two hands, the Xbox Adaptive Controller utilizes a flat yet compact design that allows it to rest on a table.
In the place of small joysticks that typically are controlled with a user’s thumb are two round light-touch-enabled pads that players can use by rolling their palms on them or pressing with their hands. These offer essentially the same level of precision as the thumb joysticks on a normal controller, but they have an added option of providing an audible cue for another layer of sensory input.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller also features a standard D-pad, an Xbox power button, and a profile button that allows users to shift among several mapping options.
Where the Xbox Adaptive Controller offers serious flexibility is in its ability to work with other existing accessibility tools, including those that offer air-power input methods or foot pedals. These can connect to one the 19 3.5mm ports on the back panel of the controller. Each of these devices can be mapped to the unit, and can be modified on the fly without even pausing the game.
As the Xbox Adaptive Controller is designed to allow for greater flexibility with other input devices, it also could be used for those who prefer something beyond the normal controllers. In some cases, it could lead to gamers trying to get a potentially unfair advantage.