Folks who like video games but, for whatever reason, don’t have an easy time holding or using a traditional console controller now have a new option, at least on the Xbox One. Microsoft has just announced its new “Adaptive Controller,” designed to increase accessibility by functioning as a hub for a wide variety of alternative control devices.
The controller itself includes a D-Pad, pause and menu buttons, and two enormous A and B buttons, but also comes with a whole host of 3.5mm jacks on the back, each of which correspond to a button on a typical controller. This allows players to attach all manner of different physical mechanisms for firing those buttons, as suits their needs. Some examples Microsoft mentions include a mouth-controller for the quadriplegic, mechanisms that allow players to operate buttons with their feet or legs, and all manner of alternate joysticks or larger, more ergonomic buttons. The controller also comes with software that allows players to remap buttons and works with “copilot” mode, where two players with two controllers can act as if they were a single player, working together on the same controller.
There’s a long history of custom controllers designed to make gaming more accessible from ingenious, hacked together solutions to hands-free controllers for the NES. But these solutions can often be expensive or labor-intensive. Microsoft’s new controller will go on sale from the Microsoft store for $100, plus the cost of additional accessories, so it isn’t exactly as cheap as a standard controller, but it should help set an accessibility standard and help more players find their own, custom setups that work best for them, without having to built it from scratch or pay a fortune. And more accessible gaming is only good for gamers everywhere.