Microsoft's new Xbox controller puts disabled players back in the game Plugged In | Microsoft Story Labs Xbox Adaptive Controller | Xbox Accessible Gaming with the Xbox Adaptive Controller - Xbox Wire Introducing the Xbox Adaptive Controller

Microsoft's new Xbox controller puts disabled players back in the game

The new $100 Xbox Adaptive Controller lets you plug in the gadgets you need. It's all about accessibility.

The new $100 Xbox Adaptive Controller lets you plug in the gadgets you need. Worse, the setup process doesn't always work. His gamer name is  MikeTheQuad . One of the buttons lets you select between saved profiles in case you have setups for different people in your home -- or even want to play different types of games. One of the first projects she worked on came from a hackathon, in which a team created a wheelchair you can control with your eyes .

Growing up, he was always the other, the person on the outside, the one who's different. It's opened up such a wide variety of capabilities.   The feature was instrumental in driving the evolution of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. It is a really deeply entrenched part of our culture now, which makes it a really big deal to be excluded from.   April Dickerson understands that as well as anyone.

Create a custom controller experience that is uniquely yours. This has often been a major issue when it comes to gaming. This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Don't let the pared-down design fool you. Gabi Michel, a senior Xbox hardware program manager and a major member of the XAC team, told Ars that a few of the 3.5mm ports support an "analog" range of joystick and trigger presses as well.

Plugged In | Microsoft Story Labs

The new Xbox Adaptive Controller will make gaming accessible to people with a broad range of disabilities.

His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Mike Luckett is a lifelong gamer. Now there's something that can help Luckett and others like him truly get back into the game. Gamers of all types Video games are about escape as much as they're about entertainment. The real magic is in the back and on the sides. Some may disagree. In 2005, when he was 40, Bertholomey placed sixth on “Madden Nation,” a televised competition of the U.S.'s best “Madden NFL 06” football video game players.

An adaptive controller wouldn't necessarily generate a significant return on investment. As a child growing up in rural Tennessee, Dickerson would try to play basketball or football with the neighborhood kids, but it was hard to keep up. The program started three years ago, after a new patient who was a passionate gamer arrived at the hospital. At Microsoft, we believe in empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Xbox Adaptive Controller | Xbox

Create a custom controller experience that makes gaming more accessible. Connect external switches, buttons, mounts, and joysticks.

View our Affiliate Link Policy . Sarah E. He started at the age of 5 nearly three decades ago, joining his older brother who was playing the original Super Mario Bros. title on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It's the Xbox Adaptive Controller from Microsoft . One minute you're sitting at home after a long day at school or work, the next you're piloting a spaceship through an epic dogfight in a far away galaxy.

I have a disability that gives me a mismatch." Read our full interview with Lay-Flurrie about how accessibility is changing design principles at Microsoft . For him, gaming wasn't just a hobby, something he did in his spare time. A sense of belonging was something he craved but never had. Securing the needed approvals wasn't always easy, and it meant convincing the right people that an accessible device was worth the outsized investment.

The young man was depressed and unwilling to take part in his therapy sessions. Our CEO, Satya Nadella, has spoken about how essential it is that we push the boundaries of what technology can do in a concerted effort to be inclusive of everyone around the world. I remember reading about a father who had modified a joystick so that his quadriplegic son could play and beat King’s Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder.

Accessible Gaming with the Xbox Adaptive Controller - Xbox Wire

During its reveal event, Microsoft's hardware design team argued that this was no accident. Your California Privacy Rights . Biography Sarah E. Within a few years, he was playing games like Id Software's 1992 Nazi prison break shooter, Wolfenstein 3D , and the followup sci-fi hit Doom . The $99.99 device, to go on sale later this year, is designed to help gamers of all shapes, sizes and abilities play games however they can on either an Xbox One or a PC powered by Windows 10 .

There are also corresponding markings on the top of the controller to guide you to the ports on the sides. During my time on Microsoft's campus, I heard that WHO definition repeated by several people, even outside the company's accessibility team. It was a lifestyle.   You can't fathom losing something that you love so much, said Bertholomey, 52, who lives in Mesa, Arizona. For me, that's the greatest thing ever.” The device was further refined at Microsoft's 2016 hackathon, and momentum for the project began building within the company.

But in video games, everybody can have the same experience.   Dickerson switched to PC-based games about eight years ago, after she was no longer able to navigate a traditional controller. Working with the hospital's rehabilitation engineer, Muston-Firsch put together a crude customized gaming setup for the young man. These principles have the deepest impact in how we are building products that are designed for everyone.

Introducing the Xbox Adaptive Controller

The operative word is "adaptive." XAC's potential truly begins with its back-side strip. The old design axiom is, 'You are not the user,'" says Bryce Johnson, Microsoft's "inclusive lead" in its product research and accessibility team. At Microsoft, we believe in empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. May 17, 2018 5:30 a.m. Over the years, Luckett collected lots of consoles including 1988's Sega Genesis, 1994's Sony PlayStation, 2005's Xbox 360 and 2017's Xbox One X .

Sometimes, the jerry-rigged buttons work. And there's enough room to add labels too. And where before he might have been worried about whether he could even play, using Microsoft's new controller means he'll just be able to focus on having fun. It's incredibly devastating.   Bertholomey began looking for ways to play with one hand. That coincided with other efforts at Microsoft to increase diversity and inclusion in gaming.

How to accommodate players like her is a question the gaming industry, including Microsoft, has been grappling with for years. It looked like Frankenstein, she said, but it worked.   Other patients noticed and wanted in on the action, and their interest led Muston-Firsch to set up the gaming program. As I discussed at the annual DICE conference in February, when we truly design for all, we help make the world more equal.

How it works: Explore the Xbox Adaptive Controller

Says Jones: "I think the disabled community is seen as relatively small, so for a big company like Microsoft to put money behind this is a game-changer. There, you'll find a whopping 19 ports, all 3.5mm jacks. Johnson is wearing a T-shirt with the all-caps phrase "MORE LOVE" on the front. Our CEO, Satya Nadella, has spoken about how essential it is that we push the boundaries of what technology can do in a concerted effort to be inclusive of everyone around the world.

One of his favorite games was  Vectorman , a shoot 'em up adventure in which you're a robot in the future protecting Earth from an uprising of evil robots. Apple, for instance, has announced that the blind and deaf communities across the US will be able to access a specially designed curriculum called  Everyone Can Code  for  Swift  in schools. A normal controller is small enough to fit in a coat pocket but big enough to feel comfortable in your hands.

First published May 16 at 10 p.m. He found someone to hack him a foot pedal that connected to his Xbox, but it didn't work well for him. The Gaming for Everyone initiative launched in 2015 with the goal of engaging a broader range of Xbox players and enabling them to connect with like-minded and similarly skilled gamers. It's too important to Microsoft, it's too important to Satya's vision. Given the highly personalized nature of disabilities, a one-size-fits-all solution has been elusive.

Microsoft's New Adaptive Controller Is for Gamers With Limited Mobility

Microsoft's new Adaptive Controller is a major step forward for helping gamers with physical or neurological challenges enjoy their hobby. ...

These inputs include PDP’s One-Handed Joystick for the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Logitech’s Extreme 3D Pro Joystick, and Quadstick’s Game Controller. Every gamer with a disability faces a unique challenge for many reasons, one of which is the relative dearth of accessibility-focused peripherals for consoles. No, this isn't a giant middle finger to the headphone-jack haters at Apple and Google. When it came to designing a more accessible controller, though, members of the design team had to get into a mindset outside of the standard controller use cases they were familiar with.

China Rejects U.S. Luckett had been deployed overseas and working ordnance logistics for the Army in Iraq from 2010 through March 2011, when he came home. Sitting in his wheelchair in an accessibility lab Microsoft built in its Studio B building at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, Luckett showed me what that effort's done for him. It's shaped to be ergonomic, with edges that naturally slide into your palms, that position your thumbs over the top buttons and your pointing and middle fingers on the side and bottom triggers.

Update at 10:45 p.m. There's so much you can do with it. The Xbox platform was revamped to support accessibility features such as closed captioning, high-contrast user interfaces and the ability to remap controller buttons. The philosophy is a priority across the company, from Xbox to Office, and has led to accessibility features being built in to various products and apps. One gamer might be able to play a particular game, while another with the same disability can't.

How Xbox Adaptive Controller Will Make Gaming More Accessible

The customizable product allows gamers with mobility limitations to craft their own personal device.

The solutions that exist today are often expensive, hard to find, or require significant technical skill to create. We couldn’t be prouder to have their support in introducing the Xbox Adaptive Controller. It’s not meant to be an all-in-one solution by any means, more like a hub that allows gamers with disabilities to easily make and adjust their own setups with a minimum of hassle. In fact, this project has been hiding in plain sight for over a year.

For gamers with limited mobility, finding controller solutions to fit their individual needs has been challenging. The Wall Street Journal U.S. A few months later, in August, he was driving a motorcycle when things went wrong. Since he doesn't have use of his fingers, the soft-spoken 32-year-old needs both hands just to hold a controller. The Xbox Adaptive Controller, which was codenamed Zephyr, is completely different.

Microsoft's Controller for Gamers With Limited Mobility Comes with 19 3.5mm Jacks

Sometimes they crashed, as the patients sat waiting. We couldn’t be prouder to have their support in introducing the Xbox Adaptive Controller. More recommended partner devices can be found here . Earlier this week, we learned that Microsoft was working on a controller specifically designed for accessibility. The Xbox Inclusive Tech Lab opened at one of Microsoft's Redmond campus buildings in 2017, and Ars visited last year under the auspices of an Xbox One X demo and conversation .

The solutions that exist today are often expensive, hard to find, or require significant technical skill to create. Edition U.S. The accident severed his C6 spinal cord , leaving him unable to use his legs. If he wants to hit a button or tap the joystick, he has to rest the controller against something and then bring a hand up top to do the work. It's a rectangle just a little smaller than a tablet and it can easily rest on your lap.

Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller is an inspiring example of inclusive design

He began gaming at around age 5, when his mom bought him an Atari. We want them to be successful when they go home.   So when Microsoft reached out to the hospital about testing the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Muston-Firsch and Scroggs were excited. The Xbox Adaptive Controller has been years in the making, though we realize that this is only one step along our journey of inclusive design and that we have more work ahead.

These ports allow for accessories of all kinds that can be used by people with various disabilities. After that chat, a helpful PR agent's eyes flashed brightly as I asked about the specialized headsets and pedal-driven rigs against one wall. All the while, XAC was being built behind the scenes. An image of the controller leaked earlier this week with our games editor Jez Corden detailing the function of the mystery device .

If the controller needs him to use three or four fingers at once, there's just no way. It's got four big sticky rubberized feet too, to make sure it won't slide on a table. Apple added programming to its Apple Watch to track everyday movements for wheelchair users. PT : Added information on Global Accessibility Awareness Day.  Update, May 18 at 5:00 a.m. The future is bright. The initiative was the brainchild of Kris Hunter, the director of devices user research and hardware accessibility for Microsoft Experiences & Devices, and Bryce Johnson, a senior Xbox designer.

Microsoft officially announces the Xbox Adaptive Controller

Following rumors from earlier this week, Microsoft has taken the wraps off the Xbox Adaptive Controller, a controller aimed at gamers with limited mobility which is fully customizable.

But as his spinal muscular atrophy progressed, Spohn had trouble operating a controller. They've been using the device with patients for a few months and say it's enabled them to get patients gaming quickly and easily change their setups as needed. This has been a passion project for people around the world, both inside Microsoft and beyond. There’s support for a stereo headphone jack, dedicated buttons for specific Xbox functions, and even a USB-C port.

Notice the 3.5mm jack. An early version (which we weren't shown) first emerged at Microsoft's annual Hackathon in fall 2015, and by spring 2016 three interns were assigned to fine-tune its design and "business case" pitch. On top of the device lay two large programmable buttons, alongside quick access the Xbox, Menu, View, and other key inputs. And he could no longer use a computer. "I couldn't even function, using the keys or using a trackpad or any of that," Luckett said.

The device is mostly white-to-cream on its top and sides.  It's also black on the bottom, so it looks good even with Velcro attached. Both Apple and Google added an array of features and apps to make their phones and other devices easier to hear and read. Be respectful, keep it clean and stay on topic. Solomon Romney, a Microsoft Stores retail learning specialist in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been gaming with the new controller for a few months.

Xbox debuts new controller for gamers with disabilities

The Xbox Adaptive Controller features two large buttons that can be reprogrammed, as well as various inputs to allow disabled gamers to attach other devices, the company said in a post on its website.

He switched to PC-based gaming, but that became problematic too. Having something affordable is huge, she said.   On a recent Thursday evening, half a dozen patients at Craig Hospital gathered in the hospital's therapy gym for its weekly gaming night. We’re thrilled to introduce it to the world today, tell the story behind it, and take what we have learned on our journey to inform future initiatives in inclusive design.

Microsoft is pricing the Adaptive Controller at $99.99, which it claims to be a fair price considering that accessibility technology is typically very expensive. This product, the StealthSwitch 3 foot pedal , can plug into any slot on the back of the XAC and replicate a particular button's press when stomped on. Once that prototype gained enough Hackathon traction, Hunter's job was to decide if and how Microsoft would build the thing.

Luckett said that's when he nearly decided to quit gaming . So if Luckett needs the right-trigger button to be placed just near his elbow, for example, he can put one there and then plug it into the back of the adaptive controller. Why does that matter? Facebook is teaching its computers to  describe photos to blind people . We delete comments that violate our policy , which we encourage you to read.

In the lab with Xbox's new Adaptive Controller, which may change gaming forever

Microsoft's most incomplete accessory ever, at only $100, is also its most ambitious.

So I would get a faster mouse or a keyboard with the buttons spread out differently. It's very helpful, he said. At $99.99 USD and available exclusively through Microsoft Store , the Xbox Adaptive Controller will offer significant value over the customized alternatives that exist today. In many cases, these solutions must be custom-designed to fit the needs of the individual in question. It takes virtually no time to set it up and use it.

And we won't know until we ship. A dedicated USB port allows joysticks to be connected from third-party manufacturers too. He wasn't the first gamer facing physical challenges. Now all he has to do is tap the button, and it registers as if he'd pulled the trigger on a standard controller. Therapists say their patients hate when things look like they're for people with disabilities. And in its Xbox group, the company last year released a feature  called Copilot that lets people use two controllers to play with one character.

Microsoft announces Xbox Adaptive Controller to bring accessible gaming to all

Microsoft has finally unveiled the new Xbox Adaptive Controller to help those who normally cannot participate in one of the fast-growing areas of technology: gaming. Here is the story.

That's when I needed to turn to a place for help.   That place was The AbleGamers Charity , a West Virginia-based nonprofit launched in 2004, where Spohn is now the chief operating officer. He liked its lightness and shape. We’re looking forward to sharing more about the Xbox Adaptive Controller in a few weeks at E3. A person with cerebral palsy has different challenges than someone who might have lost a limb in an accident, to pick two simple examples.

The larger button at the top-right is currently sold by AbleNet for $65 a pop . The traditional business success metrics... this doesn’t fit into any of those normal metrics. Many people with disabilities have had a difficult time affording customized hardware for gaming, often leaving them on the sidelines. Since nearly the beginning of the industry, video games have been built with a few basic assumptions about the players: They can hear, they can see and they have two fully functioning hands.

On top are two big circular black buttons that are easy to trigger with even the lightest touch on their side. That made it a hit with parents and young kids who wanted to play games together. How am I going to game again , he wondered? It takes virtually no time to set it up and use it. Another station has a Quadstick , a mouth-operated joystick that works by blowing air into or sipping air from it.

Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller aims to help gamers with disabilities

Like Warfighter Engaged, the organization provides disabled gamers with custom setups like modified controllers and devices that allow them to play with their eyes. He liked how it sat easily on a lap. This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Providing a single overarching way to control these peripherals and integrate them into the console and PC ecosystem could encourage vendors to pay more attention to the product category.

A proximity switch from Ablenet that activates when it senses motion within one inch of its top. We had to move the goalpost. The Xbox Adaptive Controller will be sold exclusively through the Microsoft Store for $99 later this year. The first video game controllers, from the likes of Atari and Nintendo, were designed with joysticks and buttons. As soon as it starts, he's playing like any other person on the screen.

It also helped gamers with disabilities more comfortably use two controllers in different positions, or even mix a hacked controller with special buttons along with a standard one. He'd been an avid gamer since age 10, when an original Pong console from Sears magically transformed his family's television set into an electronic playground that he could control. It could not be simpler.   I get to redesign my controller every day and get to choose how I want to play, Romney said.

Microsoft Is Giving Disabled Gamers a Better Controller

Microsoft is making its first videogame controller designed for people with disabilities, the latest in a growing number of industry efforts to accommodate players who face challenges seeing, hearing and directing the on-screen action.

We use accessibility switches for almost everyone we work with, so in terms of the flexibility, this is going to be amazing for us, he said. Most of all, he liked what he saw it doing for the gamers.   With that controller, they're having fun, he said, watching the patients play. It doesn’t look much like a controller. And don’t let the “Xbox” logo fool you — the base is fully PC compatible.

Interestingly, accessory maker PDP is building a one-handed joystick controller with two-buttons and a USB attachment. The [return on investment] is different. Daniel Rubino is executive editor of Windows Central. But building specialized controllers is onerous, expensive and time-consuming. You'd never be able to tell he was using one controller with two big buttons near his wrist in addition to a separate controller.

But because many of the parts, like those joysticks, are replaceable, accessibility advocates found they could create parts to fit disabled gamers' needs . Bertholomey was instantly hooked. For me, that's the greatest thing ever.   The device also represents something less tangible to Romney — inclusion. Copilot also allows players to create custom gaming setups that work for them. But as the industry evolved in the 1980s and ‘90s, controllers, systems and games themselves became increasingly sophisticated and challenging to navigate.

I see how it's making my sister happy, and I like that.       Published on May 16, 2018. It certainly doesn’t look like what you might imagine an Xbox controller for people with neurological or muscular issues might look like. Ars Technica spent some time with the controller in the lab and has some additional information on which peripherals work with the platform. The clean, confusing-looking slab, nearly the length and width of an Xbox One S, has no joysticks.