To coincide with Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Microsoft have unveiled their new Xbox Adaptive Controller – a device designed for gamers with different levels of ability.
Four years in the making, the controller is a first from Microsoft with Project Manager Gabi Michel saying, “We know how to make a controller, and we know how to make a great controller. But we didn’t know how to make a really great accessible controller.”
So the project team consulted gamers and worked alongside accessibility advocates and nonprofits that work with and represent disabled gamers. With their feedback, Microsoft worked to design an inclusive controller.
Of the device, Microsoft said in their official statement:
“The 19 jacks across the back of the device, mimicking the number of inputs on a standard controller, are spread out in a single line rather than being stacked so they’re easily accessible for people with dexterity challenges. The controller’s rectangular shape is designed to sit comfortably in users’ laps without falling between their legs or requiring them to sit in an awkward position.
…An early prototype of the device had the D-pad and other controls between the two large A and B buttons on its top. But after listening to feedback from gamers, the team moved the controls off to the side and slid the two buttons closer together so gamers can rest a hand between them and easily move between the buttons.”
After discovering some gamers use Velcro to secure a lapboard to them during game-play, Microsoft also added three threaded inserts to the device. This means it can be mounted and attached to a wheelchair, lapboard, or desk.
Microsoft senior industrial designer Chris Kujawski said, “Giving them the ability to put the controller where they need to have it was a really important aspect of the design.”
Symbols embossed along the top face of the controller also identify each port on the back so gamers don’t have to lift or turn it over. There are also grooves above each port as a physical reference to help you guide plugs into them.
The controller’s edges have been rounded to avoid one helluva bruise if you drop it on your feet. The device also has a sloped design so gamers can rest their hands on it and or slide them onto the controller without having to lift them.
The design team also made the packaging accessible with the inclusion of a hinged lid and open space under the device.
Microsoft and Xbox shared the exciting news via their twitters earlier today:
— Xbox (@Xbox) May 17, 2018
The adaptive device can be hooked up to external switches, buttons, mounts, and joysticks.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller will retail for $99.99 and will be released later this year.
You can find out more about the controller HERE.
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