New games controller aimed at people with disabilities
Following a report that claims one in three people are unable to play video games because of their disability, a new games controller has been released, aiming to make video games more accessible.
Designed for Microsoft’s Xbox games console, the Xbox Adaptive Controller considers those who might not be able to reach all the buttons or hold a controller for a long period of time.
The device allows gamers to plug in their own joysticks, buttons and switches to mimic a standard controller, meaning users won’t have to rely on the default buttons that come with the console and can choose which assistive aids carry out each function.
The development of the games controller comes from a report by Muscular Dystrophy UK which found that more than one in three people said they were unable to play video games because of their disability with 80 percent of those surveyed feeling that the gaming industry “does not consider the needs of disabled gamers.”
The Xbox Adaptive Controller was developed in collaboration with gamer charity Special Effect, among others.
Special Effects’ Chief Executive, Dr Mick Donegan, commented: “Our experience in helping people with complex physical disabilities to access videogames has enabled us to provide not only very relevant advice about features and design, but also direct feedback from a user-centred perspective.
“Microsoft has a product here that has the potential to help many people globally to enjoy the magic of video games.”
Xbox’s goal was to make the device “as adaptable as possible, so gamers can create a setup that works for them in a way that is plug-and-play, extensible, and affordable.”
Left paralysed from the chest down after he broke his spine in a car crash in 2010, George Dowell, 25, was among the first people to trial the device in the UK.
George said: “It’s brilliant. Before this I used arcade sticks that can be adapted for button ports, but they were unreliable, and I often had to ask someone to help me make them work.”
He added that the controller has given him more independence.
At a price point of £74, the Xbox Adaptive Controller will be available to buy later this year.
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