A Game For All

17 May 2018 | Aaron Wise

Game consoles have come a long way since the retro 80s. Back then, you could play Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Tetris by tapping a few buttons on a bulky machine.

Even in the early 90s, I remember the awful graphics of Aladdin on my old Sega console!

But here we are in 2018, where the likes of PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo have designed products that allow users to play wirelessly, online and even in virtual reality. The fully immersive experience allows players to literally be a part of the game.

But while these consoles are available and used the world over, they haven’t been inclusive. In fact, there’s one particular audience that haven’t been able to enjoy the marvels of the gaming industry; the disabled.

But that will soon come to an end as Microsoft has created the world’s first adaptive Xbox controller for gamers with limited mobility.

The giant tech firm has collaborated with charities including The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect, and The AbleGamers Charity, while also teaming up with Muscular Dystrophy UK to promote the device.

The customisation of the new controller allows it to be used by all sorts of gamers, having two large buttons, two USB ports and several accessibility ports.

Those who can’t use their hands can place the controller on the floor and use their feet instead, while screws on the bottom allow it to be mounted onto wheelchairs and tables.

Microsoft has even teamed up with third-party manufacturers to support external devices that can be plugged into the controller, such as one-handed joysticks and mouth-operated joysticks.

But, for me, I think the best part of this ground-breaking design is the cost. The controller will go on sale later this year at just £75. When you consider a standard Xbox One controller costs £40 and the console itself costs anywhere between £200 to £300, it’s a pretty reasonable price for such an innovative piece of tech, making in even more inclusive.

This is a great bit of PR by Microsoft. It has clearly researched the gaming market and identified audiences it could tap into. In such a competitive industry, Xbox has blown PlayStation and Nintendo away with this new piece of technology and hurled itself to the forefront of inclusive gaming.