Microsoft will provide Xbox Adaptive Controllers for veteran therapy

Xbox Adaptive Controller
Xbox Adaptive Controller (Image credit: Windows Central)

Today, Microsoft and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a collaboration to provide the Xbox Adaptive Controller and other gaming services to rehabilitation centers across the country. The accessory allows various different peripherals to attach to its numerous ports, providing options for those who have limited mobility. On top of the controller lie two large programmable buttons, alongside quick access to the "Xbox," "Menu," "View," and other key inputs. What makes this controller truly unique is along the rear. There are nineteen 3.5 mm jacks, hooking the console into an existing ecosystem of accessible buttons and other input devices.

The organizations said that "gaming with a traditional controller can be difficult for people with limited mobility, and for veterans." Unfortunately, this can lead to "loss of connection to community and an activity that was a significant part of their lives during service." The collaboration will provide controllers and gamers aimed at therapy and rehabilitation. This will allow veterans to exercise their muscle activation and hand-eye coordination.

Executive Vice President of Gaming Phil Spencer said the following when discussing the partnership with the VA.

The reception to the Xbox Adaptive Controller has been really special for us and the team. To see the impact that it's having on peoples' lives just really makes it all worthwhile. Microsoft has a longstanding relationship with the VA, I think it's almost 20 years now. And the VA as the largest integrated healthcare provider in the US, we just thought it was the perfect opportunity to bring our focus on gaming and the great work that the VA is doing together.

The Director of Nations Veterans Sport Programs and Special Events Dr. Leif Nelson added the following.

We're looking for platforms for veterans to interact with each other, and the Xbox Adaptive Controller can be that access point to get involved in this world and in the gaming community. Gaming is now everywhere in the world, and while people tend to think of it as isolating, we're finding that it actually has the opposite effect and can increase interactions with other veterans and folks who are non-veterans. I think this can be a tool in the rehabilitation process to achieve a lot of different goals. If we do our job well and we're able to expose veterans to the Xbox Adaptive Controller as a possible tool or intervention in their rehab process, I expect to find successes even in those folks who have never gamed before in their lives.

The VA will share feedback with Microsoft on how the Xbox Adaptive Controller is helping veterans. Hopefully this will lead to further advancements in the future, and new ways to help those with limited mobility.

Check out our hands-on with the controller

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is available on the Microsoft Store for $100. If you're someone who has limited mobility or known a gamer who does, be sure to take a look at this accessory because it has helped many of our friends already.

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Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.