A big deal

Mi­crosoft takes a gi­ant leap to­ward inclusivit­y with the Xbox Adap­tive Con­troller

XBox: The Official Magazine - - INSIDER -

Many of us take for granted how easy it is to ex­pe­ri­ence and en­joy one of the world’s most pop­u­lar pas­times, yet for many of the es­ti­mated one bil­lion peo­ple who live with var­i­ous dis­abil­i­ties, play­ing games can be ei­ther an ar­du­ous task or com­pletely un­achiev­able with­out the help of spe­cial­ist equip­ment. For years var­i­ous charities have worked hard to de­velop and sup­ply this unique equip­ment but due to lim­ited fund­ing, the peo­ple that re­quire them have to con­tend with high costs and po­ten­tially long wait­ing lists.

It’s for this rea­son that the an­nounce­ment of the Xbox Adap­tive Con­troller from Mi­crosoft is so im­por­tant. Born from Mi­crosoft’s In­clu­sive Tech Lab and de­vel­oped in col­lab­o­ra­tion with The AbleGamers Char­ity, Spe­cialEf­fect, The Cere­bral Palsy Foun­da­tion, Craig Hos­pi­tal and Warfighter En­gaged, the XAC has been de­signed pri­mar­ily for gamers with lim­ited mo­bil­ity. In de­vel­op­ing this new con­troller Mi­crosoft has re­moved many of the bar­ri­ers that peo­ple with dif­fer­ent lev­els of abil­ity face and set a prece­dent for oth­ers to fol­low suit and make gam­ing more ac­ces­si­ble to play­ers ev­ery­where.

Not only will this new ac­ces­sory cost far less than sim­i­lar de­vices, com­ing in at $99 (the UK price has yet to be an­nounced), but thanks to Mi­crosoft hav­ing worked closely with third party man­u­fac­tur­ers it will sup­port most ex­ter­nal in­puts avail­able on the mar­ket.

Em­pow­ered de­sign

Much like a stan­dard con­troller, the XAC is wire­less and has the tra­di­tional D-pad, View, Menu and Guide but­tons, but it also sports two large, easy-topress but­tons on the front, two USB ports on ei­ther side of the unit and 19 3.5mm in­put jacks on the back. These ports func­tion as any of the but­tons on a stan­dard con­troller and are where you’ll at­tach the var­i­ous as­sis­tive aids you may al­ready own such as Quad­sticks (a mouth-op­er­ated joy­stick that works by blow­ing air into or suck­ing air from it to per­form ac­tions), switches and but­tons. Thank­fully, every one of these but­tons and ports can be re­pro­grammed via the Xbox Ac­ces­sory app so you can cre­ate a set-up that caters to your spe­cific needs. You can also save three dif­fer­ent gam­ing pro­files which can be seam­lessly switched be­tween to play a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent game types with­out hav­ing to re­set the de­vice. To top things off it has an in­ter­nal lithium-ion bat­tery so there’s no need to keep swap­ping out bat­ter­ies.

Another wel­come ad­di­tion is the in­clu­sion of the co-pilot fea­ture that Mi­crosoft in­tro­duced last year, which al­lows a sec­ond con­troller to be used in con­junc­tion with another to add fur­ther op­tions for peo­ple who can’t com­fort­ably use a sin­gle con­troller. For ex­am­ple, one player can con­trol the shoot­ing in a FPS while another con­trols the char­ac­ter’s move­ments, or one per­son can use both con­trollers us­ing other body parts.

There is still a long way to go and a lot needs to be done for gam­ing to be more in­clu­sive, but all of this is cer­tainly a step in the right di­rec­tion.

“The ac­ces­sory will sup­port most ex­ter­nal in­puts avail­able on the mar­ket”

Above Play­ers with dif­fer­ent lev­els of abil­ity were in­volved through­out de­vel­op­ment. right A small se­lec­tion of ac­ces­sories and as­sis­tive aids on of­fer.

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