As a designer, accessibility is an important part of my career. I need to make sure that not only are current users of products I create able to comfortably and properly interact with them, but that all and future owners of these products can engage as well. Inclusivity is key, because (from a purely business standpoint) it allows even more people to purchase and use and enjoy a product. But from a personal perspective, there’s something amazing and magical and fulfilling with seeing the human results of solving a problem.
Microsoft may have created something amazing and magical with the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
The device is part controller, part hub for attachment of other devices. These attachments, such as quadsticks or one-handed joysticks, allow those with special needs to play video games with what is easiest for them, not what they instead may be forced to use. Far too often, accessibility in gaming means a specific and small set of ways to interact. But, with technologies like eye-tracking, voice and the Adaptive Controller, everyone has the opportunity to play and master the games they want, how they want.
The attachments easily plug into the XAC, which itself includes the main function buttons and D-Pad, and allow for specific button presses or motions, and complete programmability. There’s even a co-pilot mode that links to another Xbox controller for further assisted gaming..
Accessibility and inclusivity aren’t proprietary topics. Microsoft has even gone on record saying that its research and development into the XAC is available for anyone to use and even improve upon.
With products like this, I’m hopeful and positive that anyone who wants to play a game now has the capability to, however they want to, whether they are disabled or not.
Kudos to Microsoft and the Xbox design teams for the product. The controller is currently compatible with Xbox One and PC and will retail for $99.99.
For more info, check out the Microsoft website.