Xbox's accessible controller

Accessible Gaming News: New Xbox Controller

Gamers.  When you hear that term, do you roll your eyes and think, “gamers are nothing but addicts?”  Do you believe gaming is a waste of time, and that academics should have nothing to do with gamers? However, do you have any idea of how popular gaming is in the United States?

Can you spot the new “Accessible Controller”

“More than 150 million Americans play video games, according to new research released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The report, 2015 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, also shows that 42 percent of Americans play video games regularly, or at least three hours per week.” [taken from ESA]

Gaming has gained a great deal of the entertainment dollar in America as well:

In 2015, the market was estimated to be worth 16.97 billion U.S. dollars and the source expects revenues to reach 20.28 billion by 2020. [taken from Statista]

So gaming is important in America, and will have an impact on education.  Already efforts have been made to incorporate gaming into classes through gamification.

But for disabled people gaming can be challenging, and just another social means of creating barriers.  Most gaming platforms and computer running game do not have adequate access built in.  For some like the blind, games can be just another inaccessible arena in life.  Gaming can also help break down the barriers to social isolation that plagues many with disabilities.

you aren't welcome here barrier

To the disabled, barriers are like signs that say you aren’t welcome here!

Fortunately, there are organizations out there who are working toward a more accessible gaming world. The AbleGamers Charity, CP Foundation, SpecialEffect, Craig Hospital in Denver, and Warfighter Engaged are organizations which recently teamed up with Microsoft to create a more accessible XBOX and PC gaming experience.

How it works video.


The results of their collaborative efforts created the new Xbox Adaptive Controller.

Xbox's accessible controller
Starting with the philosophy of inclusion, developers and engineers decided to create a new controller with a huge variety of interface options.  Buttons can be added to improve the access for those with mobility restrictions.  Joysticks and alternative mince can be plugged into the unit to improve functionality.  Buttons can be programmed to do specific things within games, that would not be possible for a disabled user prior to the introduction of this controller.

Mounted controller

This controller doesn’t make all games accessible, and companies producing game have often face challenges in their design when it come to an all-inclusive environment, but having a gaming platform with this level of flexibility has opened the door for many who have been left of the sidelines, unable to enjoy gaming.

For gamers with limited mobility, finding controller solutions to fit their individual needs has been challenging. The solutions that exist today are often expensive, hard to find, or require significant technical skill to create. A number of individuals and organizations are creating custom solutions, but it has been often difficult for them to scale when most rigs need to be so personalized.

At $99.99 american dollars and available exclusively through Microsoft Store, the Xbox Adaptive Controller will offer significant value over the customized alternatives that exist today.


Xbox new controller with multiple input devices and mountings


 [Above two regular controllers and a variety of add-ons that can be used with the new Xbox controller — that is  centered in the photo.]

1.  Microsoft’s PDP’s One handed Joystick:

This ergonomic joystick can be used with the Xbox Adaptive controller.  It features controls that are mappable, and thunbstick buttons for full AB/YY access. Cost $19.00

2.  Extreme Pro Joystick

Advanced controls and twist-handle rudder, a joystick that is stable and precise. Cost $39.99

3.  QuadStick FPS game controller

Rugged controller that one can use with their mouth. Uses sip and puff technology.

Cost $starts at $549.00

4. StealthSwitch3

Durable metal foot switch that costs $21.95

5. AbleNet Switches

A variety of other switches are possible, but these two come from a long list at AbleNet.  Prices range from $65 to $215.

(Also pictured here (above) are more switches, headset, and mounting equipment.)

xbox person using new controller


System requirements For use with Xbox One consoles gaming on Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 PCs. Limited functionality on Windows 7 and 8.1.
Xbox Accessories App Available on Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PC’s.
Connectivity Includes Xbox Wireless Bluetooth, and USB-C connectivity for gaming on Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs.
Ports Nineteen 3.5mm ports and two USB 2.0 ports for external inputs. One 3.5mm stereo headset jack for audio.
Assignable inputs Remap buttons and create multiple controller profiles through the Xbox Accessories App on Xbox One or Windows 10.
What’s in the box Xbox Adaptive and 9’ USB-C cable.
Mounting 1/4-20 screw designed for AMPS compatible mounts. °-20 screw designed for tripod mounts.
Battery and charging Contains an internal lithium-ion battery that can be charged via included USB-C cable or power adapter (sold separately)
Dimensions 292mm (L) x 130mm (W) x 23mm (H)
Weight Xbox Adaptive Controller: 552g, USB-C cable: 64g.

Stories and Resources:

Gamification in Higher Education and Stem: A Systematic Review of Literature

Microsoft’s Xbox Controller

Zanes Story

Blind and playing video games

Carlos Vasquez’s story

College Students Are Avid Gamers