It seems like Microsoft is committed to focusing on the important issue of accessibility following the release of the wildly popular Xbox Adaptive Controller with a new addition that includes Braille haptics.
It has been revealed that the company filed a patent for a unique Xbox controller that uses Braille and built-in haptics to help visually impaired or blind users play.
You can check out the patent in full here, where the abstract reveals the premise behind the concept. There are a series of paddles on the back of the controller which are there to enable the encoding of Braille characters.
It seems like visually impaired players might be able to use the Braille alphabet to submit text inputs in-game and perhaps receive responses via the haptics baked into the peripheral.
As part of the design, there also appears to be a touch screen display and accompanying controller as well as a camera and speaker. The patent image shows how the controller links to the Xbox and then how that would reflect on any given screen.
It’s unclear precisely how this would work in practice, and requires a more technical mind than mine to unpick the machinations of its inner workings. Hopefully, we’ll see more of it soon, though as with any patent, this does not confirm the device is in development.
Regardless, it’s great to see Microsoft carrying the torch for accessibility in gaming. Hopefully, more publishers take note of the progress being made and incorporate that into their future next-gen designs!