Microsoft Unveils an Accessible Xbox Controller

Posted on May 17, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Xbox One, Hardware, Windows 10 with 10 Comments

Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller will cost $99 when it goes on sale later this year. It’s aimed at gamers with limited mobility.

“At Microsoft, we believe in empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more,” Microsoft Head of Xbox Phil Spencer writes. “These principles have the deepest impact in how we are building products that are designed for everyone. We have been on a journey of inclusive design, which celebrates and draws inspiration from people who are often overlooked in the typical design process.”

This announcement was timed to coincide with Global Accessibility Awareness Day and is part of a broader push under CEO Satya Nadella, who has a child with a disability, to ensure that the company’s products are inclusive for everyone in the world.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller, specifically, is designed for gamers on Xbox One or Windows 10 who have limited mobility and cannot easily hold a controller, or reach all of its controls comfortably, for an extended period of time. Microsoft worked with organizations like The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Craig Hospital, SpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged to design the controller. And with gamers who have limited mobility.

“Our goal was to make the device as adaptable as possible, so gamers can create a setup that works for them in a way that is plug-and-play, extensible, and affordable,” Spencer explains. “In addition to working with common adaptive switches that gamers with limited mobility may already own, it has two large buttons built in. These buttons can also be reprogrammed to act as any of the standard controller’s button inputs via the Xbox Accessories app.”

The controller also supports third-party external inputs so that gamers can add other assistive devices and custom-tailor the experience for their needs. PDP’s One-Handed Joystick, Logitech’s Extreme 3D Pro Joystick, and Quadstick’s Game Controller are all compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller already.

Microsoft has an interesting feature story about the Xbox Adaptive Controller if you’d like to learn more.


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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Microsoft Unveils an Accessible Xbox Controller”

  1. iPhoneX

    Important stuff! Great work MS.

  2. Thayios

    I've got Rheumatoid Arthritis and there's no way THAT controller would help. Ergonomics are needed more than ever but are constantly ignored by multiple industries.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to Thayios:

      You should watch some of the videos of the controller in action. It's not just a one-size-fits-all, standalone thing. It acts as a hub, and you can extend it with buttons and sensors that work for you. It's not going to be perfect for every person with a disability, but Microsoft has obviously put a lot of research into designing something that can be adapted for use by as many people as possible.

    • MutualCore

      In reply to Thayios:

      So what kind of gaming can you do with RA?

    • 1armedGeek

      In reply to Thayios:

      Reach out to the XBox team and try to work with them. Microsoft practically bends over backwards to help people with disabilities.

  3. MutualCore

    Interesting there are like 20 3.5mm jacks on the back side to tie into add-on peripherals.

  4. Waethorn

    They're bringing back DJ Hero?

  5. ianhead

    One of my friends is a quadriplegic (he can use his arms, but not fingers) and this would be awesome for him. Well done, MS!

  6. 1armedGeek

    This is actually a huge deal. My first gaming system was the Bally Arcade in the late 70s and very early 80s.

    I can only use one arm / hand due to Cerebral Palsy, so playing games was tough. As games has gotten more complex, I could no longer play the action games at all.

    I am shocked it has taken this long to produce a controller like this.

  7. RonH

    Awesome. Well done.