Every now and then, a company will absolutely knock something out of the park, and do it out of nowhere. Microsoft might have just done that with the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is the brainchild of the Gaming For Everyone initiative from Microsoft Labs and TEAM XBOX and is a bit of a game changer when it comes to accessible controllers. On the front, there is a D-Pad, Xbox, view, menu and profile buttons, and two massive programmable buttons, but the real magic is lying in the back. Flipping the Xbox Adaptive Controller around you are treated to 19 3.5mm jacks that can be used to plug in many accessible devices, from simple buttons of any shape or size to mouth sticks or anything else that can be used as a digital input. On top of that, you also have two USB type-A ports for plugging in analogue joysticks, including my personal favourite Logitech X3D, which can be used to replace the analogue sticks of a normal Xbox controller. Rounding out the IO is a USB type-C port and a DC jack, both for power, as well as a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack and a standard Xbox connect (not Kinect) button.
Anyone who has ever had to find an accessible controller will understand what a massive game changer the Xbox Adaptive Controller is. If you have never, Ben Heck does them regularly and goes through hell to get them going, and they aren’t the most customisable beasts. With the Xbox Adaptive Controller, that difficulty stands to be a thing of the past. Every button is now mappable to any single input device you could imagine, which I am sure will make games not only vastly more accessible but will give the crazy modders out there something else to play with.
If you would like some more information, the original news post is available here. The Xbox Adaptive Controller is due out ‘later this year’ and will retail at $100US.