Announced in May, Microsoft's XBox Adaptive Controller is a revelatory piece of hardware design created in partnership with charities for the disabled and other interest groups. Based on a modular and (as the name suggests) adaptive design, it allows the creation of bespoke control solutions facilitating their use by disabled users. Now, four months on, the XBox Adaptive Controller is available for order, shipping this autumn.
The hub unit of the XBox Adaptive Controller lays a fundamental foundation for game input. Buttons and other control surfaces are high-contrast to help with impaired vision, and they're oversized in comparison to a more petite standard controller. From this core, compatible with XBOX and Windows PC via USB, a new paradigm in control can be built.
Arrayed around edges of the hub are inputs for an infinite variety of auxiliary controllers, both analogue and digital. Each maps to a standard controller functionality, but the actual input mechanism used to mimic it isn't constrained by common design principles. From one-handed joysticks, pedals and switches, all the way to the QuadStick controller for quadriplegics, each is compatible with or can be operated in conjunction with the Adaptive Controller hub.
Furthermore, the XBox Adaptive Controller and its software API provides a consistent basis from which new controller schemes can be designed and implemented. With luck, this will reduce development time and cost for new bespoke input devices, and may even feed back into the the creation of novel input solutions for able-bodied gamers.
The controllers are now available to preorder directly from the Microsoft Store, or at Gamestop in the US. The hub device is priced at £74.99 in the UK or $99.99 in the US, with controller accessories also available. For more information visit the product page on Microsoft.com.