May 17th 2018

The new Xbox controller for inclusivity


This controller may look weird, but it is customizable so that people with different disabilities can set it up the way that's best for them. It has two massive programmable buttons and 19 jacks that can connect to a range of devices from foot pedals to joysticks. It works with third party devices to help specialize it for the specific user.

Dan Bartholomey was an avid gamer, but after a hit and run he lost the use of his right arm and hand. He's been one of the people testing the controller for Microsoft, and said, "The possibilities are endless. There's so much you can do with it. I've been searching for a one-handed controller for years. I'm so grateful to have a product like this. Microsoft is my hero now more than ever...I want to compete again in eSports. The future is bright. The future is exciting."

The idea originally came up in 2014 when a Microsoft Engineer saw a controller made for injured veterans by Warfighter Engaged. Microsoft had several hackathons since then where a few of the submissions were different ways to make gaming more accessible to more people. Finally it led to a specialized lab whose goal was creating these sort of devices, and after a lot of convincing they got a greenlight for an official controller.

It was a long, complicated road, but the controller will release later this year. Do you think this is a smart move on Microsoft's part? Will making it easier for a relatively small group to play games turn a profit? Or do you think it's about something more than that?