Your Move: Adaptive Controller

Feb 21, 2019

For years, people have been making single-handed game controllers to help people enjoy video games even if they have trouble using a standard controller. However, efforts like these have a definite DIY feel to them, having to open up the controller and solder additional components to the circuitry. And, as this is not easy work, the results tend to be very expensive, and not always very durable.

Last year, though, Microsoft announced that they were releasing an Adaptive Controller for the Xbox One and Windows. This controller is unique because it actually doesn’t come with all the buttons you need to play games with it! Instead, it has two very large buttons, and a bunch of input jacks on the back. The buttons are rugged, and can be pushed with hands, elbows, knees, feet, or just about anything else. The inputs on the back are standard 3.5mm jacks, which have become a standard for buttons and switches made for accessible devices. With these jacks, you can connect a wide variety of additional switches to the controller. Large buttons, foot pedals, sip and puff tubes, mouth-operated joysticks - basically any kind of button or switch can be connected to the Adaptive Controller.

Microsoft’s design process didn’t just stop with the controller itself when thinking about accessibility: even the box is easy to open. It has one piece of tape, which has a loop at each end to assist in removing it. After that, the box unfolds, revealing the controller and all its accessories. The fact that Microsoft thought about the accessibility of the product all the way down to its packaging demonstrates to me their understanding and commitment to serving this segment of the gaming population.