In Brief

Microsoft launches Adaptive Controller for disabled Xbox gamers

Customisable game pad has 19 inputs for accessories and can be operated with a player’s arms, elbows or feet

Microsoft has launched a new customisable Xbox controller to help people with disabilities play computer games.

The Adaptive Controller is a compact board with two large circles instead of the joy sticks found on the company’s current line-up of controllers. The circles can be operated by the player’s arms, elbows or feet, The Guardian reports.

The board has 19 inputs for players to connect gaming accessories and these are designed to improve the device’s usability, the newspaper says. The add-ons include foot pedals, bite switches (a type of mouth-operatd button) and an extra set of touch-sensitive pads. 

According to The Verge, no two controllers will be the same as gamers with disabilities are likely to have different preferences and needs. As a result, the Xbox Controllers will not be available on the high street.

Instead, gamers will be able to customise the device through an online configurator on the company’s website, the tech news site says. 

As well as introducing its own accessories, Sky News says that Microsoft has worked with third party gaming manufacturers to ensure players have a host of accessibility accessories to choose from.

The tech giant has also collaborated with charities such as SpecialEffect, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation and The AbleGamers Charity to examine how users with disabilities play games, the news site reports.  

Nic Bungay, a director at the Muscular Dystrophy UK charity, said: “We know from our own research that video games are important to many disabled people.” 

The games allow them to socialise and compete with others “on an equal basis”, he says, and this has a positive effect on their wellbeing.

Noting the current absence of controllers aimed at helping disabled people play video games, Bungay says he hopes that the new Xbox accessory “marks the first step towards a more inclusive video gaming culture.”

Microsoft has yet to announce an exact launch date for the £74.99 Adaptive Controller, but says it will be later this year.

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