“Gaming for Everyone”: Microsoft designs accessibility controller for Xbox One

Playing the latest game on an Xbox is an easy, straightforward process for most–at least when using the controller. There’s the triggers, bumpers, face buttons, a directional pad, sticks and the iconic green guide button in the center. The question is, if you’re a gamer like Mike Luckett, how do you continue to play the latest games when the controller does not accommodate the needs of a person who has lost all finger control? After a motorcycle accident, Luckett severed his C6 spinal cord, and despite being able to move his hands, he lost the ability to control his fingers. After telling CNET he “nearly decided to quit gaming,” Luckett won’t have to.

Microsoft has developed an accessible controller for those who can’t use the traditional one, appropriately naming it the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The new controller, for $99.99, allows users of all abilities to plug switches, buttons, pressure-sensitive tubes and other attachments as desired. “We’re coming up on 2 billion people playing video games on this planet,” said Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox team. “As an industry, when you start to hit that kind of impact act in terms of the broad base of people that interact with your art form, I do think we have a social responsibility.”

Image: Microsoft

For specific details on how this innovative controller works, CNET observed Luckett and said that “the key feature of the Xbox Adaptive Controller is that it has ports in its back that represent each button on a standard controller. So if Luckett needs the right-trigger button to be placed just near his elbow, for example, he can put one there and then plug it into the back of the adaptive controller. Now all he has to do is tap the button, and it registers as if he’d pulled the trigger on a standard controller.”

The Xbox Adaptive Controller will be available sometime this year. A detailed development timeline and more information about the controller can be found by clicking here.

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