Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox Adaptive Controller, designed to enable gamers with severe disabilities to be able to play Xbox One games.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller was designed in collaboration with various charities that concentrate on making games accessible to those with severe disabilities, including The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Warfighter Engaged, Craig Hospital and the UK charity which has pioneered innovative accessibility-controllers, SpecialEffect.
SpecialEffect founder and CEO Dr Mick Donegan said: “This has been a milestone collaboration for us. Our experience in helping people with complex physical disabilities to access video games has enabled us to provide not only very relevant advice about features and design, but also direct feedback from a user-centred perspective. Microsoft has a product here that has the potential to help many people globally to enjoy the magic of video games.”
Nic Bungay, Director of Campaigns, Care and Information for Muscular Dystrophy UK, added: “We know from our own research that videogames are important to many disabled people. It allows them to socialise and compete with others on an equal basis, which has a positive effect on their wellbeing. Despite this, more than one in three young, disabled gamers told us they feel excluded due to a lack of accessibility. By working in partnership with Microsoft, we hope that today marks the first step towards a more inclusive videogaming culture.”
The announcement of the Xbox Adaptive Controller sees Microsoft take the lead ahead of other platform-holders as far as accessibility is concerned. The company’s mission statement includes the desire to: “Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” To provide greater insight into the company’s efforts to make its gaming products accessible to all, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer Jenny Lay-Flurrie has written an illuminating blogpost.
And you can read the story of how the Xbox Adaptive Controller came into being – a process which has been in train for years — here. So far, Microsoft has not unveiled when it will go on sale or how much it will cost in the UK – it has been priced at $99 in the US. As ever, we’ll keep you abreast of further developments.