Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller started out as two hackathon projects at the company after an idea from a veteran with limited mobility. Designed for gamers with disabilities, the controller has two large programmable buttons and 19 jacks that can be connected to various accessories to make Xbox and PC gaming far more accessible for a number of players. Microsoft is now partnering with the US Department of Veteran Affairs to provide 22 rehab centers with Xbox Adaptive Controllers and allow veterans with limited mobility the ability to play games again.
These controllers, which starred in the company’s Super Bowl commercial earlier this year, will be used in therapeutic and rehabilitative activities for veterans, and they’re designed to improve things like hand-eye coordination, muscle activation, and general social activities. Gaming is a popular activity in the military, so this rollout seems like a natural fit for the existing 20-year partnership between the VA and Microsoft.
“We think this is the right thing to do,” explains Microsoft’s gaming chief Phil Spencer in an interview with The Verge. “There are scenarios that bring people from all around the planet, of different abilities, different genders, different races, different social economic scenarios together, and we believe in that power of gaming.”