Microsoft unveils Xbox Adaptive Controller

Microsoft has confirmed its bringing more accessibility to Xbox by releasing its Adaptive Controller, which had leaked earlier this week.

Aimed at players with limited mobility, it’s been created in partnership with several organisations including The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect, Warfighter Engaged and Craig Hospital, in addition to a lot of feedback from the accessibility community. It’s been designed to be affordable and easy to set-up.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller features large programmable buttons and can be connected to various external switches, buttons, mounts and joysticks to customise its setup (there are 19 jacks across the back of the device), including the Quadstick, a mouth-operated joystick designed for quadriplegics, the PDP One-Handed Joystick (which has mappable buttons) and the RAM Mount with Ablenet buttons, which “allows a player to control the game with one leg placed between the buttons.”

It’s priced at $99.99 (£74), is exclusive to Microsoft Store and is due to release later this year. More about it should be revealed at E3, the announcement promised.

Deborah Bach, writer at Microsoft News Center has put together a long blog post explaining the journey to creating the Xbox Adaptive Controller – you can read it here.

Dr Mick Donegan, SpecialEffect’s Founder and CEO, said: "This has been a milestone collaboration for us. Our experience in helping people with complex physical disabilities to access video games has enabled us to provide not only very relevant advice about features and design, but also direct feedback from a user-centred perspective. Microsoft have a product here that has the potential to help many people globally to enjoy the magic of video games."

Microsoft has also been working with Muscular Dystrophy UK to promote the Xbox Adaptive Controller, with the charity’s director of campaigns, care and information saying: “Microsoft’s new Xbox Adaptive Controller will make a real difference to disabled people, particularly those with a muscle-wasting condition whose movements will become increasingly limited over time. We know from our own research that video games are important to many disabled people. It allows them to socialise and compete with others on an equal basis, which has a positive effect on their wellbeing. Despite this, more than one in three young, disabled gamers told us they feel excluded due to a lack of accessibility. By working in partnership with Microsoft, we hope that today marks the first step towards a more inclusive video gaming culture.”

Here’s a video introducing the Xbox Adaptive Controller:

About Marie Dealessandri

Marie Dealessandri is MCV’s former senior staff writer. After testing the waters of the film industry in France and being a radio host and reporter in Canada, she settled for the games industry in London in 2015. She can be found (very) occasionally tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate, Hollow Knight and the Dead Cells soundtrack.

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