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Xbox reveals accessible controller for players with disabilities

Phil Spencer: Xbox Adaptive is "only one step on our journey to inclusive design"

A new controller designed for gamers with limited mobility has today been revealed by Xbox.

Working in conjunction with community members and organisations like SpecialEffect, The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Warfighter Engaged, and Craig Hospital, the Xbox Adaptive was designed with the aim of making games more accessible for people who may experience difficulty with traditional controllers.

The Xbox Adaptive allows players to connect various assistive switches in order to build a custom controller that suits their mobility needs; Microsoft says the new peripheral is part of a wider commitment to accessibility and inclusive design.

The controller has been "years in the making" according to head of Xbox Phil Spencer, adding that it was "only one step on our journey to inclusive design".

SpecialEffect founder and CEO, Dr Mick Donegan, described it as a "milestone collaboration" for the organisation.

"Our experience in helping people with complex physical disabilities to access video games has enabled us to provide not only very relevant advice about features and design, but also direct feedback from a user-centred perspective," he said.

"Microsoft have a product here that has the potential to help many people globally to enjoy the magic of video games."

Microsoft has also been working with Muscular Dystrophy UK to promote the Xbox Adaptive.

Directory of campaigns for the charity said the controller will make a "real difference" for disabled people, especially those with muscle wasting conditions.

"We know from our own research that video games are important to many disabled people," he said. "It allows them to socialise and compete with others on an equal basis, which has a positive effect on their wellbeing.

"Despite this, more than one in three young, disabled gamers told us they feel excluded due to a lack of accessibility. By working in partnership with Microsoft, we hope that today marks the first step towards a more inclusive video gaming culture."

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Ivy Taylor

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Ivy joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.

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