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Microsoft launches Xbox Adaptive Controller, designed for accessibility

Xbox Adapative Controller

Ars Technica’s Sam Machkovech takes a deep dive into Microsoft’s launch of a new controller designed for gamers with disabilities:

The operative word is “adaptive.” XAC’s potential truly begins with its back-side strip. There, you’ll find a whopping 19 ports, all 3.5mm jacks. No, this isn’t a giant middle finger to the headphone-jack haters at Apple and Google. Rather, these ports see Microsoft connecting with, and loudly celebrating, what has long been an open secret in the world of gaming peripherals: the community of add-on devices designed for limited-mobility gamers.

Oversized buttons, finger switches, blowing tubes, foot pedals, and other specialized inputs have long been built for gamers who can’t hold onto or efficiently use average controllers (gamepads, keyboards, mice). Recent speeches from company heads like CEO Satya Nadella and Xbox chief Phil Spencer have paid lip service to “inclusivity” in computing and gaming, but this device, the XAC, aims to do the trick by connecting niche add-ons to standard Microsoft hardware.

This is both an impressive bit of hardware and a significant commitment from a company the size of Microsoft. Time, research, and money have all clearly been plowed into the development of this controller as part of the company’s overall strategy to make gaming more accessible.

Apple’s long touted accessibility as a big part of its platform, and it’s good to see the rest of the tech industry doing their part as well.