Microsoft Technology for Gamers with Disabilities
We’ve talked about technology that can assist you in your home, but what about entertainment? If you’re living with a disability, you may need personalised technology solutions to suit your individual needs. At the moment, the options are limited, expensive and hard to find. This is about to change. Microsoft have announced the Xbox Adaptive Controller for players with disabilities.
The new Xbox Adaptive Controller, which will be available later this year, can be connected to external buttons, switches, joysticks and mounts, giving gamers with a wide range of physical disabilities the ability to customize their setups.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is the most flexible adaptive controller made by a major gaming company, and can be used to play Xbox One and Windows 10 PC games.
The controller is the first piece of Microsoft hardware developed through an inclusive design approach.
“Trying to accommodate a broad range of disabilities made for a challenging but rewarding project,” said Chris Kujawski, the Microsoft senior industrial designer who worked on the project.
“Microsoft makes a lot of cool products, and Xbox in particular does, but you have very few opportunities in your life or career to make a product that will so positively impact someone’s life as this one will, and I really believe that it will,” he said.
One message heard clearly from the accessibility community when designing the controller was not to make it look like a Fisher-Price toy. Another design driver was that the controller had to look and feel like an Xbox product.
“We wanted it to feel — from a colour perspective, the shapes that we used, the quality of the assembly — all those aspects had to feel like an Xbox product, a first-party product that we had put a lot of care and effort into,” Kujawski said.
For gamers with limited mobility, finding controller solutions to fit their individual needs in the past has been challenging. The solutions that exist today are often expensive, difficult to find, or require significant technical skill to create. A number of individuals and organisations are creating custom solutions, but it has been often difficult for them to scale when they often need to be so personalised. The Xbox Adaptive Controller was developed in partnership with organizations around the world, including The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Craig Hospital, SpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged.
Joining the Xbox family of controllers and devices, the Xbox Adaptive Controller was created to address these challenges and remove barriers to gaming by being adaptable to more gamers’ needs.
The controller has been years in the making, though Microsoft have said they realise that this is only one step along their journey of inclusive design and that they have more work ahead.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is priced at $99.99 USD and will be available exclusively through Microsoft Store, offering significant value over the customised alternatives that exist today. Gamers around the world are already sharing their excitement for the release of an inclusive controller.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller will be launching later this year. Keep an eye on the Microsoft website for more news and updates.
We understand that, in order for you to live as autonomously as possible, you must be confident in your ability to access your local and wider community services. Find out how we can help and more information on our disability services page.