Microsoft Makes Gaming More Accessible With the Xbox Adaptive Controller (Updated)

Updated, 7/25/2018, 7:50am PT: Microsoft showed off the packaging in which the Xbox Adaptive Controller will arrive to consumers. The company said it developed a "no teeth" principle, named for people with limited mobility's frequent resort to using their mouths to open packages, to make it as easy to access as possible. That should help make the Xbox Adaptive Controller feel like it was designed with purpose--what's the point of making a controller for people with disabilities if they're frustrated as soon as it arrives on their doorsteps?

Original article, 5/17/2018, 9:55am PT:

Microsoft revealed the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which will help make the Xbox One and Windows 10 gaming platforms more accessible to disabled gamers. The new controller enables you to create custom input setup with a wide range of third-party accessibility devices.

Playing video games is a pastime that millions upon millions of people enjoy every day. Video games have become a major part of our modern culture, and most of us take gaming for granted. However, people with disabilities are often left out of the gaming world because typical gaming controllers aren’t designed for their needs.

Microsoft built the Xbox Adaptive Controller with maximum accessibility in mind. It features a handful of necessary input buttons, including Xbox, View, Menu, and Profile buttons, as well as a standard D-Pad. It also features two large buttons that you can assign to any Xbox input. The Xbox Adaptive Controller also features a large, flat base, which you can place on a desk or rest on your lap, and threaded inserts to mount it to a lap board, wheel chair, or adjustable desk mount. The controller also has a wedge shape, which allows you to use it with your feet.

Microsoft worked closely with charities and organizations that specialize in helping disabled gamers including The AbleGamers CharityThe Cerebral Palsy FoundationCraig HospitalSpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged, to create a device that meets their needs. Microsoft created the Xbox Adaptive Controller to act as a hub for third-party accessibility devices that these companies are familiar with, and that people would already own. 

The Xbox Adaptive Controller features a USB port on either side of the controller, which enable you to use a full-size joystick to emulate each thumbstick. The USB ports are also compatible with advanced devices such as the Quadstick, which is a mouth-based controller for people with quadriplegia. The Xbox Adaptive Controller also features a 3.5mm jack for each of the 19 inputs that an Xbox One controller offers, which are compatible with Ablenet Jelly Bean buttons.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller can store up to three configuration profiles, which enables you to customize your setup for multiple game genres without needing a button for each input. The device is also compatible with Xbox Co-Pilot, which enables you to use the Xbox Adaptive Controller in conjunction with a standard controller for more configuration options.

Microsoft said that Xbox One and Windows 10 would support the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The company didn’t offer a release date, but it said the controller would be available for $99.99 later this year. Microsoft will have more to share about the new controller at E3 in June.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years. 

  • smashjohn
    this is awesome! and long overdue.
  • irfbhatt
    Logitech and Quadstick project participants, and this will ensure compatibility with many devices.
  • mihen
    Sweet, time to be a trance DJ.