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#1 Edited by Brackstone (802 posts) -

I'll let the video speak for itself.

Basically, it's an extremely modular controller meant to allow disabled people to configure something specific to their needs.

I really, truly think this is the coolest thing to come from Xbox. Gaming is notoriously bad for accessibility features. Fully customizable control schemes and even basic color blind options are still fairly rare. It was a fantastic moment when Sony allowed you to easily remap the PS4 controller at the system level, and this is on an entirely different level from that.

I can even foresee some cool configurations that people will come up with for things like speedrunning or attempting to get something similar to the old Steel Batallion controller.

I'm seriously considering buying one even though I don't need it, because goddamn is this just the best and I want to support it.

EDIT: Here's a pretty good rundown from Ars Technica that gets into some of the devices this is designed to work with: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018/05/xbox-adaptive-controller-a-bold-answer-to-the-tricky-world-of-accessible-gaming/

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#2 Posted by mach_go_go_go (205 posts) -

Gosh, that's wonderful. Well done, Microsoft.

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#3 Edited by Justin258 (15493 posts) -

That thing is pretty fucking awesome.

How much is it and how available is it? And does it work on PC's? And is MS letting people use it for other applications? While its gaming applications are great, I would be willing to bet that it has way more potential applications for disabled people to interact with computers, so it'd be real shitty of Microsoft to lock this thing down tight and never let anyone experiment with it.

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#4 Posted by TheHT (15748 posts) -

That's fantastic. Seriously.

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#5 Posted by Brackstone (802 posts) -
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#6 Edited by dudeglove (13605 posts) -

As someone whose shoulder has been in a sling more times than I care to remember, this is a very important thing.

If you don't know how significant this is, I suggest you try the mere act of putting on socks one handed.

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#7 Edited by isomeri (3103 posts) -

This is really fantastic. I've had a few close calls during my life doing dumb shit or just having weird luck where I've become close to losing a few fingers or even a hand. It's always made me wonder if I'd be able to continue my gaming hobby after a serious injury. This controller gives me hope that games could fit into anyone's life.

EDIT: Also the thing seems to be charged through USB-C, so It's likely we'll see the other Xbox controllers updated for USB-C at E3 as well.

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#8 Posted by nutter (1619 posts) -

Hopefully this is well-supported at the OS level. It’s an amazing idea.

I can’t speak from personal experience, but if it’s affordable/fairly priced and helps remove barriers for folks, then great.

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#9 Posted by nutter (1619 posts) -

@dudeglove: Absolutely. I lived a few years in my 20s having to consider that sort of thing due to a back injury. Putting on socks was high on the list of tasks that went from simple and mindless to agonizing and frustrating.

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#10 Posted by wchigo (899 posts) -

@nutter: I've thrown out my back at least 3 times in my life so far, most recently earlier this year, and yes. Putting on socks, walking up stairs, even walking on level ground! You never realize how much you have to contort yourself to wipe your bum after going to the bathroom. All stuff I used to take for granted.

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#11 Edited by dwigtk (362 posts) -

This this is truly incredible and the video put a huge smile on my face. I feel very fortunate that I don't need to use one of these controllers but I am very excited for the prospects of making gaming easier for people that do.

My hope is that people that don't need them don't buy them for things like playing with their feet for fun or speed running. It would be a horrible shame if a gamer who needs one because of a disability can't get one, but some person on Twitch is playing a game with their feet for views.

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#12 Posted by gkhan (1033 posts) -

This is incredibly rad. Good on Microsoft! Every gaming hardware manufacturer should be paying attention, this is how you treat your customers right.

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#13 Posted by nutter (1619 posts) -

@wchigo: Any dressing is awful. It all involves a lot of complex motion. Shirts, belts, socks, pants.

Getting up into or down into a car seat is a chore. Putting on a seatbelt is getting dressed all over again. Bumps in the road are sudden shocks of pain, and then there’s the dread of having to hit the brakes or seeing an upcoming speedbump.

I used to bear crawl up the stairs at home. It was just easier to incorporate my arms and be on four limbs rather than feel all the pressure in my back and on two legs.

Anyhow, if folks who couldn’t play games can with this, great. Games can be great pain management.

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#14 Posted by Warren2007 (79 posts) -

This is a really cool idea but I hope they support it in the long run. This controller seems to have serious limitations. First is that it requires most users to already have some kind of rig to add to it, or know what they would need add to it for their own needs. The second is the cost. $100 is a lot of money, physical and mental difficulties don't play nice with high income jobs so having to pay for the console itself, plus this more expensive controller, plus any other hardware that the person needs is going to be extremely expensive. Another is compatibility, If this controller could work on PC, 360, XOne and whatever comes in the future, THAT WOULD BE HUGE!.

From their video, Microsoft seem to hope that charities and specialist carers will be able to cover costs and adaptations. I work for a health charity so I can tell you, a way will be found! We exist to make stuff like this work for as many people as we can.

This a great move from Microsoft and I hope we see other big companies do similar offerings. The controllers available from specialist outfits are doing a lot but the extra reach and investment big companies can provide can push things along much faster.

Hats off to you, Microsoft. Keep working on this! Games are for everyone!

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#15 Posted by w00master (133 posts) -

Ars Technica also has a great article on this as well. Great Phil Spencer quote:

"I will never turn this into a Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft [competitive] thing," head of Xbox Phil Spencer said at the event. "Anybody, literally anybody who wants to learn from the work we’ve done here—or even try to do more than that with the work we’ve done here—I’m completely open to that. it doesn’t have to have an Xbox logo on it. Let's just allow more people to play."

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#16 Posted by Arjailer (146 posts) -

Not much to add - just wanted to agree that this is friggin' awesome!!

Between this, copilot, button remapping and the other accessibility options (magnifier, narrator, high contrast etc) Microsoft is doing great stuff for inclusivity.

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#17 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3702 posts) -

@w00master: That is a great quote. Hopefully there's very little in the way of Sony/Nintendo or anyone else using this on their own products.

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#18 Posted by whitegreyblack (1941 posts) -

Incredible work and product. The right thing to happen to the industry.

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#19 Edited by inevpatoria (7380 posts) -

Coolest thing Microsoft has ever done might be an understatement, if you can believe it.

One of my best friends, a huge fan of video games, is a quadriplegic after suffering a spinal cord injury. Video games have never been entirely off the table for her--thanks to technology like the Quadstick--but it's always come with an asterisk or a limitation. Third-party accessibility controllers run into a lot of compatibility issues, are almost impossible to troubleshoot, and are prohibitively expensive in even the best of cases. And for someone with a very high-level injury or extreme level of impairment, the complicated inputs required to play the most basic of video games typically ask too much from a person's physiology.

With Microsoft providing a dedicated, affordable, and modular platform for accessibility, everything changes. Now, we have a controller that is guaranteed to work with the games we want to play together. Now, we can use adaptive switches and modifications to make games fundamentally more playable than they were ever before.

I cried last night watching the announcement video. Gaming is so formative for so many people of all ages, and the general public doesn't often recognize how much specific, functional dexterity a person needs in their hands to effectively enjoy the pastime--or how easily a degenerative condition, congential condition, or severe injury can rob a person from being a part of this wonderful, empowering, overwhelmingly social experience. The world of gaming just hasn't been cognizant of deeper accessibility needs. To this point, it's been a lonely and insular place for someone who wants to game--with their family, with the friends, or for their own enjoyment--but can't.

Not anymore.

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#20 Posted by extintor (1080 posts) -

maximum kudos for this... well done Microsoft

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#22 Edited by pweidman (2819 posts) -

This is such a great story. Great job by MS, and specifically the designers who developed this controller and got it done. Now, Sony and Nintendo should piggyback on this accessibility technology and get it out for their games too. I'd guess it probably already has applications for pc.

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#23 Edited by mellotronrules (2452 posts) -

credit where it's due- this is an incredibly meaningful use of company hours and talent. good on ya, philly s. and the microsoft gang! especially those who aren't a known 'name' and put their passion into this.

e: here's an ars video with a bit of phil:

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#24 Posted by BabyChooChoo (7080 posts) -

I've been struggling to find the right words for this. It's just so cool such a major player in this industry is getting behind disabled gamers in such a big way. A small, but nice welcome bit of positive news in today's far-too-often often depressing climate.

Even if you wanted to be cynical and call this a PR move, the fact it will simply be making video games more accessible for some folks to play is nothing but a good thing in the end. And if it gets Sony, Nintendo, and others to start thinking about and investing more in this type of accessibility then even better.

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#25 Posted by Craigieboy (112 posts) -

Even before this announcement I was aware of charities that specialize in helping gamers with disabilities by making custom control methods to allow them to play their favorite games. Having Microsoft now invested in helping disabled people play video games will be a huge boost to making gaming accessible for everyone.

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#26 Posted by someoneproud (371 posts) -

Really great idea, thoroughly impressed. Here's hoping this is the start of an industry trend toward better accessibility.

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#27 Posted by OurSin_360 (6089 posts) -

This is great, i hope they open it to every platform as this is something that should be for everyone who needs it.

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#28 Posted by flameboy84 (880 posts) -

@justin258: I'd imagine it would work with PC's. I used to teach IT at a special educational needs college and a common accessibility option was using switch boxes which would interface between the computer and whatever accessible button, switch worked for each student. The fact that this xbox controller uses audio inputs to map the buttons confirms to be this is a just a very refined version of those same switch boxes.

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#29 Posted by moyer78 (20 posts) -

I hope Giant Bomb does a video to cover this when it comes out. I'm very interested in how it works.

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#30 Posted by Brian3dw (98 posts) -

This is so amazing!

I've been having so many issues with my right hand that I have been using adapters and workarounds to game for more than a year now.

I actually just had surgery on my right hand last week to try and fix some of the problem. I'm currently in a brace and was using co-pilot just last night.

I am so happy to see this and so thankful. It made me shed a few tears too @inevpatoria .

My question now is; where do I get whatever attachments are needed? What do I even look for? I don't know what terms to search for. Do you guys think it's just a "Wired toggle switch" or something like that?

Very excited!

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#31 Posted by zombiepenguin9 (734 posts) -

Ars Technica also has a great article on this as well. Great Phil Spencer quote:

"I will never turn this into a Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft [competitive] thing," head of Xbox Phil Spencer said at the event. "Anybody, literally anybody who wants to learn from the work we’ve done here—or even try to do more than that with the work we’ve done here—I’m completely open to that. it doesn’t have to have an Xbox logo on it. Let's just allow more people to play."

Spencer seems like a top-notch guy. Cool to see this happening.

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#32 Posted by flameboy84 (880 posts) -

@brian3dw: they are typically called just switches obviously that don't help Google... Try accessible switches, communications switches (as this was more their original use) or AAC switches. Here are two sites I know of that have used in the past:

http://www.boundlessat.com/Switches

https://www.adaptivetechsolutions.com

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#33 Posted by bybeach (6310 posts) -

Was musing on this the other day, what one would do or what could be designed for, without a hand or such. Someone has thought this through, designed and engineered/built a product.

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#34 Posted by someoneproud (371 posts) -

@zombiepenguin9: He really does. Best thing to happen to the Xbox brand, looking forward to seeing what he does next.

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#35 Edited by mellotronrules (2452 posts) -
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