Xbox introduces the "Xbox Adaptive Controller" for disabled gamers

Xbox has just unveiled an amazing piece of technology that is sure to improve the experience for disabled gamers everywhere - the Xbox Adaptive Controller!

The new controller consists of a flat rectangular pad with two enlarged black buttons, USB ports all along the sides, the home/option/back buttons, the D-pad and a button with three lines next to it. Each USB port is labeled with a specific button on a standard Xbox controller, and here's the beauty of the new device: you can connect external devices to each of those USBs, including joysticks, to use them as if they were part of your controller!

The standard Xbox controller, excellent as it may be, has never addressed the obstacles faced by patients suffering from disabilities, thus hindering the experience for them. The Xbox team acknowledges this issue in their latest video discussing the Adaptive Controller, and has thus developed an answer to the predicament...a highly effectual answer at that!

In fact, when you watch the video included in this article, you'll be amazed by what happened when the Xbox Adaptive Controller was showcased at gaming meet-ups at the Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado!

As the gaming industry continues to explode, companies are beginning to address the challenge faced by disabled gamers when it comes to enjoying their products. Now that Xbox has risen up to the challenge, eyes are on Nintendo and PlayStation to see how they will approach this obstacle in an effort to nurture their audience. Although, it is worth noting that the Playstation 4 comes with the option to remap your controller layout to fit your needs, so it's a step in the right direction.

Developers such as NetherRealm Studios have already acknowledged the issue by implementing a feature which causes an unusual sound effect whenever a character strays near an interactable object in their latest fighting games. This addition was made at the request of an NRS community member known as OBS Rattlehead, a blind gamer who holds his own in a competitive standard.

Other fighting game communities include players who have become beacons of inspiration to those who also suffer from disabilities. Take BrolyLegs, for example. Born with a birth defect called arthrogryposis, he is forced to compete using his mouth and cheeks in order to perform controller inputs. At first glance, one would not think that such an approach could produce results, and yet, BrolyLegs was able to snatch wins from opponents, much to their amazement. BrolyLegs is recognized by players hailing from both the Smash and Street Fighter communities.

From his first match on stream to the present day, BrolyLegs won the hearts of stream viewers worldwide through his amazing gameplay in spite of his disability. Below is an interview from the Street Fighter YouTube page that touches upon his history.

Another noteworthy example is Dayton "Wheels" Jones, who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2. In order to compete, he is forced to play using the controller on a flat surface. Like with BrolyLegs, this obstacle does not change the fact that whenever a player finds Wheels in their path in the bracket, they are instantly struck by a sense of fear.

Wheels has come to regard fighting games as his source of motivation throughout the years he's struggled with his condition. The Street Fighter 4 series lit the spark that would turn into an inferno when Killer Instinct was unveiled as a launch title for the Xbox One. At that point, Wheels's interest in fighting games took an incredibly upward curve.

Starting out as an Orchid/Sabrewulf player, he began to attract the attention of the FGC with his improving results throughout Season 2. Of course, this streak carried over into Season 3, bringing about amazing Top 8 placements and the respect of every FGC member. He is now sponsored by Ultra Arcade, which is led by Mr. Brandon Alexander, an incredibly vocal supporter of Killer Instinct and its community.

After his participation at Combo Breaker 2017, an interview by Yahoo Esports was conducted and subsequently published. Sadly Yahoo has long since disbanded its esports section, but the interview is still available to look up. Check it out here.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is sure to make playing Killer Instinct, along with any other fighting games on the Xbox One (Injustice 2, Tekken 7, etc.), an incredibly improved experience for gamers facing the same challenges as BrolyLegs and Wheels. As far as the competitive FGC goes, however, the majority of titles are hosted on the Playstation 4, which does not come with a similar device...although, as converters do exist, it will be incredibly interesting to see if similar steps will be taken to allow the use of the Adaptive Controller for a console other than Xbox.

For further updates regarding Xbox, follow @Xbox on Twitter.


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XboxBlake Whitworth