Microsoft just announced a new controller for the Xbox One that will bring accessibility to gaming for those with a variety of disabilities.
It is called the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC), and its design is not like anything you have ever seen. It looks a bit like a dual-turntable device that one would use to DJ a party. In fact, that is what I thought it was when I first saw pictures of it.
The minimalist design has two large circular pads, an over-sized directional control crossbar, and a few menu buttons. It has a headphone jack on the side as well as a USB port for connecting a separate joystick, but what sets the XAC apart are the 19 3.5mm jacks on the back of the device.
The ports can be used to connect a wide array of assistive technology including foot pedals, blowing tubes, over-sized buttons, and even custom-made inputs. Each jack corresponds to an Xbox controller button. The port configurations can also be custom mapped for any desirable setup using the Xbox Accessories app.
It also has what Microsoft is calling “Copilot Mode.” This feature allows the XAC to pair with a standard Xbox controller to create a hybrid setup. So say for example the player cannot reach the shoulder buttons. Foot pedals can be plugged into the shoulder button ports on the XAC so the player can control those with his or her feet while still using the regular controller for the rest of the buttons. The mode also opens up the opportunity for the player with limited mobility to be assisted by a friend using the the regular controller while they use the adaptive controls.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller should be available later this year for around $100. Microsoft plans to demo the device at this years E3.