Xbox Adaptive Controller

A controller that connects devices that help make gaming more accessible

Xbox Adaptive Controller
"I get to redesign my controller every day and get to choose how I want to play, For me, that's the greatest thing ever."
Solomon Romney, avid gamer and Microsoft Stores retail learning specialist

About Xbox Adaptive Controller

Designed primarily to meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is a unified hub for devices that help make gaming more accessible.

Connect external devices such as switches, buttons, mounts, and joysticks to create a custom controller experience that is uniquely yours. Button, thumbstick, and trigger inputs are controlled with assistive devices (sold separately) connected through 3.5mm jacks and USB ports.

Built from the ground up through strong partnerships with The AbleGamers Foundation, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect, Warfighter Engaged, and many community members. Input from these groups has helped shape the design, functionality, and packaging of the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

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How it works: Explore the Xbox Adaptive Controller Designed primarily to meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility.


The genesis of the Xbox Adaptive Controller goes back to 2014, when a Microsoft engineer was scrolling through Twitter and noticed a photo of a custom gaming controller made by Warfighter Engaged, a nonprofit organization that provides gaming devices to wounded vets.

The engineer, Matt Hite, reached out to the organization’s founder, Ken Jones, and learned how difficult it was for injured veterans — triple amputees, quadriplegics, vets with traumatic brain injuries — to access the world of gaming, and how time-consuming it was for Jones, a mechanical engineer who started the organization in 2012, to modify equipment for them.

There was a hackathon coming up at Microsoft’s 2015 Ability Summit, so a group of employees decided to put together a team with the goal of developing a solution for Warfighter Engaged. Working in consultation with Jones, the team developed a gaming device that used Kinect motion-sensing technology to track a gamer’s movements and translate them as if they were inputs from a traditional Xbox Wireless Controller.

The project was recognized by leadership at the hackathon and led a different employee team to create another device for Microsoft’s company-wide hackathon later that year, a unit that attached to an Xbox controller and allowed users who had difficulty navigating a traditional controller to plug in additional buttons and switches.

The device was further refined at Microsoft’s 2016 hackathon, and momentum for the project began building within the company.
The introduction of the Copilot feature in Xbox was instrumental in driving the shift from an adaptive device to standalone unit that acted as a hub. Disabled gamers would get greater flexibility, and the controller would be a more elegant solution than an unwieldy add-on with wires hanging off in various directions.

To design the controller, the project team turned to the experts, consulting with gamers, accessibility advocates and nonprofits that work with disabled gamers. The Designed for Xbox team engaged partners like LogitechG and PDP, to optimize their devices to work with the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The team cultivated new relationships, like with Quadstick, to bring entirely new devices types to Xbox.

“We’re not trying to design for all of us, we’re trying to design for each of us,” said Bryce Johnson, a senior inclusivity designer on Microsoft’s Xbox team. “If we design for people who have a unique need, it benefits people universally.”

a man using the Xbox Adaptive Controller

The V&A, the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance, has acquired the Xbox Adaptive Controller for its Rapid Response Collecting display. The area was opened in 2014 and explores how current global events, political changes and pop cultural phenomena impact, or are influenced by, design, art, architecture and technology.



2015 Hackathon team
Ben Finney, Brian Moore, Brian Smith, Bruce Bracken, Bryce Johnson, Chris Kujawski, Dawson Yee, Emily Hannifin, Gaylon Blank, Genevieve Alvarez, Greg Jones, Harri Artinaho, Jeb Pavleas, Jeremy Dodd, Jeremy Slocum, Jesse Tuominen, Juha-Lasse Latikka, Kathryn Storm, Katy Jo Meyer, Ken Circeo, Ken Jasinski, Lauren White, Matt Clark, Matt Hite, Matthew Mack, Parna Khot, Patrick Gaule, Petteri Alinikula, Rachel Green, Rekha Nair, Ritesh Rohit Mittal, Ross Nelson, Sam Sarmast, Sean Marihugh, Shachindra Dass, Shea Robinson, Varsha Ganesh Shetty

2016 Hackathon team
Bryce Johnson, Matt Hite, Leo Shing, Chris Kujawski, Evelyn Thomas, Kris Hunter, Alida Mendes, Gaylon Blank

Xbox Adaptive Controller team
Arnold Campos, Afanti Ma, Alida Mendes, Amanda Torrey, Andre Sutanto, Andrew Gillies, Andrew Nguyen, Angus McGill, Anindita Mitra, Anthony Giardini, Ben Finney, Ben Shewan, Bruce Lan, Bryce Johnson, Carl Ledbetter, Chaitrali Limaye, Charles Liu, Charles Martin, Charley Huang, Chris Killian, Chris Kujawski, Christopher Harmon, Corinne Holmes, Curtis McClive, David Chou, Evelyn Thomas, Flen Ju, Flor Alborno, Fritz Rivera, Gabi Michel, Gaylon Blank, George Bielitz, Greg Keyser, Guangwen Zhou, Gus White, Hamza Kalache, Heather Harding, James Shields, Jeff Miller, Jeff Sanborn, Joe Schaefer, Junhong Sun, Keith Lee, Ken Budoff, Kris Hunter, Leo Shing, Mark Oberlander, Mark Weiser, Markus Welsh, Martin Lodge, Matt Hite, Matt Mota, Megan Shivy, Melissa Alleyne, Mike Duggan, Nathan Lorance, Navin Kumar, Nelson Kaiton, Nicole Vecere, Pamela Galvan, Paul Hall, Rachel Yang, Richard Sauer, Robert Silbernagel, Rollie Rivera, Ross Nelson, Sam Kite, Sam Sarmast, Sam Terilli, Scott Blackwell, Scott Wang, Scott Weber, Shea Robinson, Solomon Romney, Srihari Narlanka, Steve Frank, Tao Tang, Ted Eckert, Tero Patana, Tiffany Nguyen, Tim Patterson, Vasco Rubio, Victor Yuan, Victoriya Relina, Vincent Zhang, Willis Wu

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