Now for something completely different. Late last week, Microsoft took the wraps off its latest controller. What you see above is the Adaptive Controller; a wholly ambitious approach to making gaming more accessible.
Developed with the input of organizations across the globe, the XAC is for players with mobility impairments that make using the traditional pad anywhere from difficult to impossible. “The solutions that exist today are often expensive, hard to find, or require significant technical skill to create,” stated Xbox head Phil Spencer. “A number of individuals and organizations are creating custom solutions, but it has been often difficult for them to scale when most rigs need to be so personalized.”
The XAC is the first-party answer to the problem. With a whopping 19 3.5mm input jacks and two USB slots, it works with many of the current adaptive switches gamers may already own. This allows players to tailor the experience to their needs, and on a per-game basis. Xbox also worked closely with third-party manufacturers to support popular external devices. These inputs include PDP’s One-Handed Joystick for the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Logitech’s Extreme 3D Pro Joystick, and Quadstick’s Game Controller.
In addition, Microsoft’s team placed two large, customizable buttons on the face of the XAC. Using the Xbox Accessories App, players can set these to any of the standard pad’s button inputs via the Xbox Accessories App.
What’s more, the new, roughly Xbox One S-sized device has a built-in lithium-ion battery, which should offer around 25 hours of play time between charges.
Microsoft’s Copilot setup — which allows two controllers to function as one — also enhances the XAC experience. Players that have trouble holding a controller can use two simultaneously, or even have a friend team up with them.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller will retail for $99 at the Microsoft Store, starting later this year. That represents a significantly lower price of entry than most specialized options out there, to say nothing of the increased compatibility. Expect more XAC details out of Xbox’ pre-E3 show, scheduled for June 10, 2000 UTC.
We applaud Microsoft for this accessibility initiative!