Accessibility in Gaming

A hand-held controller used for gaming

With the release of Microsoft’s new Xbox Adaptive Controller, accessibility comes to the gaming world in a way not previously possible.  For individuals with physical limitations, using standard video game controllers may be impossible.  The Xbox Adaptive Controller works as a hub into which users can insert controllers that they already use for other assistive purposes and now can be used to play a video game.  For instance, an individual who may have customized controllers to assist with controlling a wheelchair may now plug in the same controls to the hub.

The solution signifies a change in thinking with regards to meeting accessibility challenges and provides equitable use of consumer products.  The new design facilitates accessibility by enabling users to integrate the controllers they already have familiarity with; thereby, opening up opportunities for an even greater range of physical abilities to enjoy games.  The Xbox Adaptive Controller includes features, such as oversized buttons, finger switches, blowing tubes and foot pedals, for those unable to hold or use regular controllers.

Besides the new Xbox controller, there are other ways for gamers with disabilities to play video games.  Many commercial organizations provide accessible controllers for the PlayStation and other consoles.  One Switch, for instance, has resources for game accessible solutions.  It even provides guidance and links to ‘Tailor Made Game Controllers.’

It is increasingly becoming popular for accessibility to be implemented as a core element of consumer products rather than as an afterthought. This change is a sign of significant progress toward inclusion, which, hopefully, will gather momentum and bring about a culture in which accessible use is the norm rather than the exception.