Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller almost never came to pass before it released, with a real risk of it being canceled altogether.


A Microsoft executive reveals that the Xbox Adaptive Controller came close to being canceled before it was released. Back in 2018, Microsoft released a new custom controller that was designed to meet a number of accessibility needs for all types of gamers. With many gamers with differing disabilities, this controller had a variety of ways that these needs could be met. This includes custom Xbox buttons and switches that could be integrated into the rectangular controller that could be triggered by body parts other than their hands.

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This was designed by creator Spencer Allen, who was paralyzed from the chest down and had built a custom Xbox controller rig, which was refined after several prototypes and concepts. This resulted in a controller that allowed for greater accessibility in the gaming community, also raising awareness for the industry to create hardware that can be used for young disabled gamers. This includes gamers customizing the Xbox Adapative Controller to be used on the Nintendo Switch and other systems. There was a point during its development that this forward-thinking controller could have been canceled altogether.

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This reason was outlined in an interview with The Verge and Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows and devices, Robin Seiler. He stated that this accessibility focused custom Xbox controller was very close to being canceled due to one particular reason, that being Microsoft’s budget management. Seiler continued on saying that it was on the cut list, where the funding almost being taken away and canceled outright.

This move however was met with resistance from multiple teams from within the company, including Microsoft and Surface. He stated that these teams were all supportive about the controller’s release, not for any monetary or brand boosting, but rather for the gamers. “It’s just important for people to play games if they want to,” says Seiler. He noted that despite the team’s restricted budget, they were looking to improve Microsoft’s accessibility efforts regardless.

This call to push accessibility and customization for disabled gamers has been a big focus in the past few years. A lot of third-party companies have created a variety of accessible controllers and accessories for gamers of all limitations, not just for Xbox but for other consoles as well. Former Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Amie even claimed that Nintendo had an equivalent to the Xbox Adaptive Controller in the works, though it’s unknown if this project is still in development. Regardless, this push for more accessibility hardware might not have been possible if this controller was canceled before it even had a chance to show its worth.

MORE: What the PS5 DualSense Edge Controller Can Learn From the Xbox Elite Controller

Source: The Verge

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