Most gamers take for granted the fact that they’re able to hold a game controller in both hands and go roaming around virtual worlds whenever they want (when school and work allow, of course). Microsoft has been giving some thought to those who can’t do that, for various reasons, and has come up with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, a gaming peripheral designed for those with disabilities. It’s about time.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is a versatile modular controller that can be adapted to suit the needs of most mobility-impaired gamers. The oversized buttons are programmable and there are nineteen different input jacks (one for every button on a regular Xbox controller) for setting up whichever configuration is needed to get gamers playing, no matter what their particular impairment. Players can set up the controller to work in tandem with a standard Xbox One controller (for the console or for Windows 10 PCs), or to suit a variety of input options, from hands to elbows and shoulders or even feet.
The video above shows a few of the scenarios where the Adaptive Controller would be used, as well as giving a little background on how and why the controller was developed. Similar controllers have existed in the past, but they’ve typically been very expensive, made-to-order, custom affairs. That Microsoft’s bringing a commercial, readily available version of the idea to market is a welcome step forward. The company has also acknowledged that the Adaptive Controller is “…only one step along our journey of inclusive design and that we have more work ahead”. In other words, there’ll be more products in this vein to come.
Pricing for the Xbox Adaptive Controller has been set at $100 (about R1,250). Adding tax and the obligatory markup and we’re looking at about R1,700 or so here at home — a little under double the price of a standard Xbox One controller. The customisable controller is set to launch later this year, with no country rollout roadmap available yet. We do expect we’ll see it here in South Africa, though, we just can’t say when.