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Radical New Xbox Controller Opens Gaming to Everyone

Microsoft has unveiled a new Xbox controller to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

Credit: Microsoft

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Dubbed the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Microsoft's new gamepad is designed for gamers of all types and could specifically help players with disabilities more easily play and enjoy the games they love. In a blog post about how the Xbox Adaptive Controller came about, Microsoft said that it's the first from the company to be designed with an "inclusive approach" that ensures anyone can use it.

The controller itself, which launches later this year for $100, is white with black buttons. It has a D-pad, start button, Xbox button, and large A and B buttons to control games. But arguably its most important feature is on the back, where ports allow players to plug in accessories that will function as a button on a traditional controller.

For instance, the controller can accommodate plug switches, pressure sensitive tubes, and other technologies that facilitate their play. They can also place buttons wherever they need them to go, plug that button into the corresponding port on the back, and by pressing it, will activate that function.

In one example, CNET, which tried out the new controller, described how one player it interviewed needed both hands to hold the controller, leaving no ability to hit other buttons in a traditional setting. With the Adaptive Controller, however, the player was able to move a button to his elbow and plug it in to the trigger port on the back of the controller. Whenever he pressed down on the button, the game responded by performing the action the game assigned to the trigger.

Microsoft said that it also considered packaging when designing the controller. It consulted with people with disabilities, who asked that the controller be readily accessible and not require them to use their teeth to open the device.

Aside from its complete portability, Microsoft said that it's included a rechargeable battery in the device that can last up to 25 hours before it needs to be recharged.

Ultimately, Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller aims at making gaming more fun for the 1 billion people around the globe that have disabilities. And the company believes that this controller can make that happen.