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New Xbox Adaptive Controller Empowers Gamers with Disabilities
Game EngineGame Engine

New Xbox Adaptive Controller Empowers Gamers with Disabilities

Each week on Twitch and Alpha, hosts Erika Ishii and Trisha Hershberger talk video games with special industry guests, insightful coverage and a ton of audience interaction on our show Game Engine. Be sure to tune in every Tuesday starting at 4 PM PT to learn about what’s new and cool in the world of video games.

Video games are fantastic. They let us explore new worlds, become large than life, and are generally a whole lot of fun, but for some folks, finding a way to play these games can be challenging. Individuals with physical disabilities often need to invent creative solutions on how to do things like move a mouse or tap a button. Having limited mobility can even prevent some gamers from being able to play the games they’re most excited about.

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Companies like AbleGamers been working projects to create custom controllers that use alternate control schemes and technology to make gaming a possibility for anyone. No challenge seems to tough for them to overcome and the success stories featured on their site are truly heartwarming (Prepare your heartstrings, they will get tugged).  There’s only one problem. These custom controllers can’t really be mass produced and so getting one for yourself can be tough. That is, until now.

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Recently Microsoft partnered up with The AbleGamers CharityThe Cerebral Palsy FoundationCraig HospitalSpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged to design something that could be manufactured and sold around the wold. On May 16th Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, announced the creation of an Xbox One / Windows 10 PC controller that will adapt to the needs of the gamer using it.

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Spencer stated “The Xbox Adaptive Controller has been years in the making, though we realize that this is only one step along our journey of inclusive design and that we have more work ahead. This has been a passion project for people around the world, both inside Microsoft and beyond. We’re thrilled to introduce it to the world today, tell the story behind it, and take what we have learned on our journey to inform future initiatives in inclusive design.”

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The Xbox Adaptive Controller features a large frame with programmable buttons that can be easily manipulated. It’s also customizable; including a wide range of additional external inputs that allow users to add-on other switches from third-party manufacturers. This is a big step forward for gaming and will hopefully encourage other companies to create products with inclusivity in mind.

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Launching later this year, the Xbox Adaptive Controller will be available exclusively through Microsoft Store and sell for $99.99 USD. You can learn more at Xbox.com or check out Ability Week at Microsoft Store locations. From Tuesday, May 29, through Saturday, June 2, Microsoft is hosting events that will showcase hearing, vision, mobility, and cognitive assistive technologies.

Do you have a physical hardship when it comes to playing games? How do you work around it? Tell us your story in the comments below!

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Hailing from New York, Jessica Fisher is a writer, artist, and all around geek. In addition to Geek & Sundry, she writes for Gameosity.com and produces the Gameosity Reviews Youtube Channel. Find her talking about all things geeky on Twitter as @miniktty.

Image Credits: Microsoft

 

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