Microsoft has developed an adaptive controller designed for Xbox gamers with limited mobility.Gaming is important to many disabled people as it
Microsoft has developed an adaptive controller designed for Xbox gamers with limited mobility.
Gaming is important to many disabled people as it allows them to socialise and compete with others on an equal basis.
Despite that, more than one in three impaired players told Muscular Dystrophy UK that they feel “excluded due to a lack of accessibility”.
Microsoft collaborated with charities including The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect, and The AbleGamers Charity to research its user base.
A key feature of the adaptive controller is that it can be customised for the needs of different disabled users.The flat controller has two large round black buttons on the top, two USB ports and several accessibility ports along the back.
It can be placed on the floor to allow gamers to use the two main buttons with their feet, and also has screws on the bottom so it can be mounted onto wheelchairs and tables.
Microsoft has worked with third-party manufacturers to support external devices that can be plugged into the controller, including a one-handed joystick and a mouth-operated joystick.
The accessibility ports on the back each represent a button on a standard remote.
If a disabled user needs have to the left trigger near their elbow, they can place a button there and then plug it into the relevant port.
Navin Kumar, director of product marketing for Xbox accessories, said: “In the US we estimate that 14% of Xbox One gamers have a temporary mobility limitation and that 8% of gamers have a permanent mobility limitation.
“We felt like we needed to do more for this audience. Everything a standard controller can do, this controller can do.”
The tech giant has been working with Muscular Dystrophy UK to promote the new controller.
Nick Bungay, director of campaigns, care and information at the charity, said: “Microsoft’s new Xbox adaptive controller will make a real difference to disabled people, particularly those with a muscle-wasting condition whose movements will become increasingly limited over time.
“We know from our own research that video games are important to many disabled people.
“It allows them to socialise and compete with others on an equal basis, which has a positive effect on their well-being.
“Despite this, more than one in three young, disabled gamers told us they feel excluded due to a lack of accessibility.
“By working in partnership with Microsoft, we hope that today marks the first step towards a more inclusive video gaming culture.”
The device will go on sale for $99.99 (£75) with Microsoft’s website saying it will be available “later this year”.