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SpecialEffect News

17 May 2018

SpecialEffect and the new Xbox Adaptive Controller

We're proud to confirm our involvement in the design and testing of Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller, a customisable Xbox Wireless Controller designed primarily for gamers with limited mobility. The controller features large programmable buttons and connects to external devices such as switches, buttons, joysticks, and mounts, to help make gaming more accessible for everyone.

"This has been a milestone collaboration for us,” said our Founder and CEO Dr Mick Donegan. “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. Microsoft have a competitively-priced product here that has massive potential to help many more people globally to enjoy the magic of video games."

We were one of several accessibility non-profits and special interest groups asked by Microsoft to be in involved in the planning and development phases of the controller. Other organisations included The AbleGamers Foundation, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation and Warfighter Engaged. This also included a large number of gamers with accessibility needs who work with and through these organisations.

“Creating complex game control setups for people with severe disabilities takes time, care and specialist expertise,” said Mick. “With so many factors to be considered - comfort, safety, positioning, equipment selection and mounting - this first-party product provides a terrifically versatile and effective way of connecting our game setups to the console.”

George Dowell, one of our beneficiaries, was involved in the testing of the new controller. He lost much of the use of his hands due to a spinal injury, and now has a switch control setup designed by SpecialEffect that lets him play his games. This now connects to his Xbox via the new Adaptive Controller.

“The compatibility with the Xbox is great and you haven’t got to worry about unplugging it and plugging it back in to get it to work," he said. "The ability to switch between button layouts for different games also saves a lot of time.”

“It’s great that the Adaptive Controller has options to add different accessories,” added Liz Power, one of our Specialist Occupational Therapy team. “It’s going to lend itself to the creativity of users everywhere, to be able to come up with their own unique setups.”

More details of the Xbox Adaptive Controller

Below: The Xbox Adaptive Controller, George using the new controller with his SpecialEffect gaming access setup.

Montage of two pictures

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