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May
17
2018

Microsoft developing a new controller for the less able gamer: Meet the Xbox Adaptive Controller

As a blog that has always aimed to make technology understandable to the masses, we at Technically Motivated champion any attempt by a major corporation to create technology that caters for the less able user. So when we heard that Microsoft have unveiled an Xbox One controller designed with the differently-abled in mind, we naturally had to take a look.

A picture of the XBox Adaptive Controller

Image courtesy Microsoft
(click to enlarge)

Officially named the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Microsoft’s latest creation – which will actually support both XBox and Windows PCs – is billed as ‘the most flexible adaptive controller made by a major gaming company’. As Microsoft tells it, When a customised controller from non-profit veterans’ organisation Warfighter Engaged caught the eye of a Microsoft engineer back in 2014, Microsoft decided to create its own disability-friendly controller for the following year’s Hackathon, which is where this project began. Refinements followed a year later; but it was the release of the Copilot function – which allows two Xbox One controllers to be treated as a single controller – that led Microsoft to declare their new controller concept ready for launch.

In fact, Copilot is actually the key to how this new controller becomes adaptable for a wide range of disabilities. Designed to be used on a desktop surface, the Xbox Adaptive Controller features all number of ports to allow additional controllers, headsets, switches and other assistive devices to expand on its base capabilities, allowing a user to create a custom gaming solution whereby a user can combine many different controls into a workable solution for their own body. The ports are labelled such that the user doesn’t need to turn or pick up the device to see what goes where; and each controller can function as one or more physical buttons according to the user’s needs. The Adaptive Controller itself sports two giant buttons, mapped to the A and B of a standard Xbox controller and with enough spacing to allow a hand to rest in between; along with a D-Pad and other smaller control buttons to the left side.

Microsoft have explained the full story behind the controller on their Story Labs, which also gives further details about the upcoming product. The Xbox Adaptive Controller will launch later this year, and will retail for $100 in the US, which is likely to translate to around £100 in the UK after the inclusion of VAT.

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    Previous Articles


    May
    30
    2014

    Wii U recieves support for Gamecube Controllers!

    An official Nintendo Gamecube controller

    Many hardcore players of Nintendo’s long-running, franchise-merging beat-em-up, Super Smash Bros, will attest that the only way to properly play the games is with a proper, chunky controller with plenty of buttons to enable the widest range of moves and tactics. It’s no surprise really: having started on the N64 and then moved on to the GameCube for the subsequent sequel, Melee – both consoles whose controllers could be described as chunky and button filled – Smash Bros. was a game that took advantage of every single button to provide plenty of attacks, taunt options, grabs and – for the wusses – defensive moves. That Nintendo had to simply every character’s movesets for the Wii follow-up, Brawl, due to the Wii Remote having just four buttons and a D-Pad was seen as sacrilege to many fans of the previous two titles, who felt reducing the immediately available attacks and using two-button combinations for most moves just didn’t offer the level of control they were used to.

    Luckily, the Wii offered something that catered to those fans: Gamecube backwards-compatibility. Realising that there would be those craving the greater control of the previous games, Nintendo allowed people who had plugged Gamecube controllers into the Wii to use them as controllers for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, letting them play the new game with their old, familiar controllers even though they’d still be subject to the simplified move sets. That players familiar with the previous generation could fight again using the ergonomic, full-featured controllers they’d gotten accustomed to was a godsend; and so, when the Wii U removed Gamecube compatibility and the Gamecube ports, many wept that they’d not get the same option in the next Super Smash Bros. title.

    Well, dear fans, weep no longer:

    That’s right! Nintendo UK and Nintendo of Europe took to Twitter today to announce that Gamecube Controller support will be hitting the Wii U; and will feature in the next Smash Bros. title! From the picture posted, it appears the support will be added via a new accessory which will plug in to the Wii U via USB and offer the standard four Gamecube controller ports like on the original ‘Cube and the Wii. Given the nature of the accessory, it seems unlikely this will be used ONLY for Smash Bros. – many Wii games and WiiWare / Wii Virtual Console titles supported the Gamecube and the Wii U is backwards-compatible with those, so we may see Gamecube controls returned to those games; but what’s stopping Nintendo also baking Gamecube controller support back into the Wii U Virtual Console or even into future Wii U titles? The prospect is tantalising.

    Interestingly, the picture appears to show the Wii U with both front USB ports in use, though the connectors are different colours. This begs the question as to whether the Gamecube add-on will require one or two USB ports to use. What’s more, the plugged-in Gamecube controller in the picture features a Smash Ball decal – just a decorative touch, or will whole new, special-edition Gamecube controllers hit the stores once again? There’s a lot of questions still to be answered; but one thing’s for sure. Those of you who’ve kept hold of your Gamecube controllers for the last couple of years or more, now have even more reason to feel smug.

    [Via Sanitarium.FM]

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2014
    Acknowledgements: Tweet text: @NintendoUK
    Images: @Nin more...
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