Redmond, WA -- Microsoft wants to make gaming more accessible with its Xbox Adaptive Controller. The controller lets players with limited mobility plug in an array of peripherals that can use more easily than a standard gamepad.
The device comes with large programmable buttons housed in a rectangular body that’s designed to be placed flat on a table, sit comfortably in a player’s lap, or be mounted on a wheelchair or desk.
On the back, you’ll find 19 3.5mm jacks that map to all the inputs you’ll find on a standard controller, like the triggers, action buttons, joysticks, and directional buttons. The idea is to connect external switches and other peripherals in any configuration that players prefer, to make their gaming experience more comfortable.
For example, there’s the Quadstick, a joystick users can operate with their mouth, by blowing or sipping air from its straw-like sensors. Microsoft also describes a setup using RAM Mounts with connected buttons that lets users use their leg to control game play, as they form a sort of brace around a leg. Also, there are compatible foot pedals and one-handed joysticks to use with the Adaptive Controller.
Microsoft says that the controller resulted from input from gamers, accessibility advocates, and hackathons that it held in 2015 and 2016. The company opened its Inclusive Tech Lab last year at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, to take those ideas further.
Beyond supporting a wide range of devices, the Adaptive Controller is designed to be reconfigured at a moment’s notice so it can be used by people with different kinds of disabilities and specific needs. Therefore, users can experiment with various configurations to find what works best for them and for different games.
The Adaptive Controller will work with Xbox consoles and Widows 10 PCs, and will go on sale later this year for $100.