Xbox Adaptive Controller

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Xbox Adaptive Controller
Xbox Adaptive Controller V&A.JPG
TypeVideo game controller
Release dateSeptember 4, 2018
Introductory priceUS$99.99
PlatformWindows, Xbox One
WebsiteOfficial website

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is a video game controller designed by Microsoft for Windows PCs and the Xbox One video game console. The controller was designed for people with disabilities to help make user input for video games more accessible.


In 2015, a team of engineers at Microsoft's Xbox and gaming division, began working on a prototype controller to help improve accessibility for video game input. The device was designed and refined during several internal hackathon events where they built a controller that could use third-party accessories familiar to disabled gamers. In 2017, Microsoft decided to turn the prototype into a product and began collaborating with accessory manufacturers and nonprofit groups in the gaming accessibility field such as SpecialEffect, Warfighter Engaged, and The AbleGamers Foundation. The gaming division also collaborated with a disabled gamer known as, Randy "N0M4D" Fitzgerald. [1]


The Xbox Adaptive Controller has a slim rectangular frame that is about a foot in length. The face of the controller has two large, domed buttons that can be mapped to any function using the Xbox Accessories app. The face also includes a large D-pad, menu button, view button, and the Xbox home button that are featured on a standard Xbox One controller. The controller features USB ports on either side that are used to connect devices that map to analog stick functions. The back of the frame has nineteen 3.5 mm jacks that allow multiple assistive input devices to be connected; each jack corresponds to a different button, trigger, bumper or D-pad function on the standard Xbox One controller. The Xbox Adaptive Controller supports Windows 10 and Xbox One devices and is compatible with every game at a system level.[1]

According to Phil Spencer, the Adaptive Controller is not hardware-locked to Xbox, and was developed with the intention to be used with any gaming platform,[2] with Microsoft opening dialogue with Valve, Nintendo and Sony towards this effort.[3]


The Xbox Adaptive Controller was announced in May 2018.[1] The controller was released with a retail price of US$99.99 on September 4, 2018.[4][5]

In November 2018, Microsoft released a holiday-themed television commercial entitled "Reindeer Games" to promote the controller, featuring a group of children racing to another child's home to witness him play a game with the Adaptive Controller. The commercial starred Owen Sirmons, a 9-year-old child with Escobar syndrome.[6] A second commercial entitled "We All Win" was broadcast during Super Bowl LIII, which featured testimonials from Owen and his family on the positive impact of the device.[7][8][9][10]

Other uses[edit]

Microsoft's electronic voting system ElectionGuard includes an Xbox Adaptive Controller in its base alongside its touchscreen.[11]


Time named the Adaptive Controller one of its Best Inventions of 2018.[12] It also won the Innovation Award at the Italian Video Game Awards.[13]


  1. ^ a b c Stark, Chelsea; Sarkar, Samit (May 17, 2018). "Microsoft's new Xbox controller is designed entirely for players with disabilities". Polygon. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  2. ^ Takahashi, Dean (May 17, 2018). "Xbox Adaptive Controller: Why Phil Spencer greenlit the accessibility project". Venture Beat. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  3. ^ Warren, Tom (April 30, 2019). "Microsoft is helping veterans game again with Xbox Adaptive Controllers". The Verge. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  4. ^ Warren, Tom (June 11, 2018). "Microsoft's new Xbox Adaptive Controller launches in September". The Verge. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  5. ^ Stevens, Colin (September 4, 2018). "Xbox Adaptive Controller Available Today". IGN. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  6. ^ Graham, Megan (November 19, 2018). "Microsoft's Holiday Spot With Mccann Celebrates Inclusion (Again)". Ad Age. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  7. ^ "Microsoft highlights the Xbox Adaptive Controller in emotional Super Bowl ad". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  8. ^ Serrels, Mark. "Microsoft's moving Xbox ad was the best thing about the Super Bowl". CNET. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  9. ^ "9-year-old best friends from Texas turn on the waterworks in Super Bowl commercial". Star-Telegram. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  10. ^ Coffee, Patrick. "Microsoft Celebrates Disabled Young Gamers in Touching Super Bowl Spot". Adweek. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  11. ^ Cimpanu, Catalin. "Microsoft to deploy ElectionGuard voting software in first real-world test". ZDNet. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  12. ^ Cooney, Samanatha (November 15, 2018). "Making Gaming More Inclusive". Time. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  13. ^ "Italian Video Game Awards Nominees and Winners". Italian Video Game Awards. April 11, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2019.

External links[edit]