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Microsoft has decided to take video game accessibility very seriously. While some of the quality of life changes on the frontend of the user services may have been modified to accommodate those with disabilities, the company hasn't been quite as forthcoming with changes on the hardware side of things... until now.
Over on the Xbox Wire, there's news revealing the all new Xbox Adaptive Controller. This is an accessibility controller designed from the ground up for those with motorskill disabilities.
The controller is uniquely designed to work with a number of different peripherals, each one designed for different types of disabilities. For instance, there are paddles that you can use that will carry out specific functions for gamers who suffer physical impairments when it comes to their arms or hands. There are giant buttons for those with cerebral palsy, as well as large joysticks to replace the functionality of the analog sticks.
According to the post, Microsoft worked with a number of different disabled gamers and institutions in order to design a suite of plug-'n-play accessories to work with the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
So, you might be wondering what all the buttons and switches and gadgets and gizmos do? Well, there's actually a brief, one minute trailer that visually showcases exactly how the pad works and how the other devices connect to it.
As you can see, there's a row of 3.5mm ports on the back of the main connectivity pad. It features two giant haptic pads that work like their own buttons, along with a built in digital pad, and the accessibility buttons to access the Xbox Guide and the options menus.
From there, you can add or remove whatever other accessories best suit your playability comforts. Now you can't just slap any 'ole device into the 3.5mm jack and expect it to work. How it's set up is that at the top of the main pad there are icons for each jack representing the traditional buttons of the Xbox One controller, including the four face buttons, the left and right bumpers, and the left and right triggers. You can mix and match what sort of accessories or buttons are attached to which kind of button functionality.
Additionally, if you prefer to have a specific series of hardware accessories attached to the Xbox Adaptive Controller you can use the Xbox Accessories app to remap every function of the controller, not unlike the way Steam allows you to change and modify the accessibility of the Steam Controller for PC.
What's also kind of neat is that there's a pairing feature where you align the Xbox Adaptive Controller with the standard Xbox One Controller, so that you can use the second controller in what's called co-pilot mode.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller will be on display at E3 this year at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Microsoft has plans on launching the device later this year exclusively through the Windows Store for $99.99.