Video games are an incredible form of media that captivates audiences all around the world. But, video games aren't perfect, and like with any other medium, there is always more to do in the realm of diversity and accessibility.
Microsoft decided to make a huge, and necessary, step towards broader accessibility for players when they announced their Xbox adaptive controller earlier this week.
This new controller uses other peripherals in conjunction with the controller itself to help players develop and experience the games fully. In a blog post, Microsoft said that, "To make the Xbox Adaptive Controller a viable solution for the widest possible range of gamers with limited mobility, we’ve worked closely with third-party manufacturers to support external inputs which can be plugged in to the new controller."
These additional peripherals, in conjunction with the accessibility controller, is surely a great step forward for those that are differently abled.
After years of work, I am incredibly proud to say that today we are officially— James Shields (@shieldsjames) May 17, 2018
announcing the Xbox Adaptive Controller - a device that makes gaming more
accessible for people with limited mobility. #GameYourWay pic.twitter.com/bfs4QNW8f4
Microsoft worked with many foundations, including: The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Craig Hospital, SpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged, trying to get a full understanding of what would help remove barriers for players who aren't able to use the standard controller, "Our 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. In addition to working with common adaptive switches that gamers with limited mobility may already own, it has two large buttons built in. These buttons can also be reprogrammed to act as any of the standard controller’s button inputs via the Xbox Accessories app."
This controller has been in the works for a long time, says Microsoft, and the company is very excited about the potential that this controller brings for players. However, they are also cognizant that this is just one step towards being fully accessible, and that the video game world has not been very friendly or accessible until this point, so it'll be exciting to see how the video game world is going to adjust based on this change from one company.