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Xbox is getting an accessibility-focused controller – report

by Eric Frederiksen | May 15, 2018May 15, 2018 8:00 am EST

Playing video games takes a lot of manual dexterity and really tiny, precise movements. We take it for granted, and most of us only see how much work it takes when we hand a non-gamer a controller and ask them to perform the simplest of tasks. While there might not be much hope for those gamers, Microsoft has something in mind for people who want to game but come up against motor barriers – a new controller.

A leaked image, via Twitter user and Microsoft insider @h0x0d, shows the controller Microsoft is reportedly getting ready to unveil at E3:

The controller has a decidedly retro look to it, feeling something like a strange NES controller instead of the boomerang-like Xbox controller we’re used to. The face has the standard Xbox directional pad, but that’s about it. Alongside the directional pad are two pads, labeled A and B, as well as a line of symbols along the top showing different functions the controller can perform.

Details on how the controller works are scarce at the moment, but the @h0x0d has been a reliable source of Microsoft intel in the past, so this is likely a real image depicting a product we’ll see next month.

Regardless, this is a big deal for gamers who face challenges with standard controllers. No one controller can get everyone gaming, but Microsoft is showing a real, physical commitment to gamers with different needs and, from a purely business perspective, showing love to an audience that is wildly under-served.

It seems like peripherals will be a pretty big part of the show this year for Microsoft, as rumors have a revised Xbox One Elite controller in the wings, too. The controller would feature new hair-trigger and tension controls, USB Type-C and Bluetooth connectivity, a charging dock, and built-in batteries. The images of that controller have the same three-LED light configuration shown in the image above, and the size of this accessibility-focused controller definitely points at built-in batteries, too, so that lends some credence to the existence of both.

We’ll find out more when Microsoft’s E3 conference kicks off on June 10, 2018.

Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...