Microsoft announces Xbox Adaptive Controller to bring accessible gaming to all
Now everyone can game with inclusive design and an affordable controller.
Microsoft is on a mission these days, and that is to get as many people to participate in the technological revolution we are living in – that includes people with disabilities and who have limited mobility to play games on Xbox.
The new $99 Xbox Adaptive Controller has been "years in the making" and involved Microsoft working closely with The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Craig Hospital, SpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged.
Microsoft Xbox head Phil Spencer detailed the announcement in a new blog post on Xbox Wire, where he shared some of the goals and motivation behind the project:
An image of the controller leaked earlier this week with our games editor Jez Corden detailing the function of the mystery device. Microsoft is now announcing it in conjunction with Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May 18), which seems apropos.
On top of the device lay two large programmable buttons, alongside quick access the Xbox, Menu, View, and other key inputs. What makes this controller truly unique is along the rear – 19 3.5mm jacks, hooking the console into an existing ecosystem of accessible buttons, thumbsticks, and other input devices. A dedicated USB port allows joysticks to be connected from third-party manufacturers too. This controller will be compatible with both Xbox One and Windows 10 devices, with additional functionality tied to the Xbox Accessories app.
Many people with disabilities have had a difficult time affording customized hardware for gaming, often leaving them on the sidelines. With Microsoft's recent focus for the last few years on inclusive design and bringing Windows – and now Xbox – to everyone including those without the same means as the rest of us can enjoy the fantastic technology that is evolving day to day.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller will be sold exclusively through the Microsoft Store for $99 later this year. For more information make sure to read Spencer's full blog post as well as 'Plugged In' the story behind the journey to make the controller.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.