Microsoft has unveiled a new Xbox controller with customizable features for disabled gamers.
The company’s new accessible device is targeted at users with a range of physical disabilities, and is set to launch later this year.
Tailor-made controllers for disabled people are near non-existent in the gaming world. Developed in partnership with several medical organizations, including The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, along with several gamers who have limited mobility, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is made to be adaptable for each player’s needs, with common adaptive switches and two large buttons that can be reprogrammed to be a standard controller button. The controller also supports external inputs, including PDP’s One-Handed Joystick.
“By taking an inclusive design approach and considerations of gamers who might not be able to reach all the bumpers and triggers or hold a controller for an extended period of time, for example, we were able to design a controller that provides a way for more fans to enjoy gaming,” Xbox head Phil Spencer said in a statement.
“We’re coming up on 2 billion people playing video games on this planet,” Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox team, said in an interview last week. “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.”
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is a rectangular gadget with two large buttons on the face and 19 3.5mm jacks round the back that connect to a range of external switches, buttons, mounts and joysticks.
It’s wireless and designed so that users can place it on their lap while gaming but can be mounted with hardware and attached to a wheelchair or desk.
The controllers can be used for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC games and will sell for $99.99. Microsoft didn’t provide a specific date for the release.
The announcement comes as several gaming firms prepare for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which takes place on June 12 this year.