I recently wrote a blog post on Esports Accessibility. In that blog post, I outlined rules and considerations that may impact accessibility in Esports. One concern I mentioned was that anyone wanting to play esports in high school would need to play one of the three games (e.g., Rocket League, League of Legends, and SMITE) on a computer (Melanie at PlayVS, 2020). The question then becomes: How do you use the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) on a computer?
When a high school student signs up to play high school esports with PlayVS, the student either makes or receives an account on the specific game server or platform (Melanie at PlayVS, 2020). For example, League of Legends can be downloaded for free from the League of Legends site, but students who want to compete playing Rocket League or SMITE can download the games from STEAM (Melanie at Play VS, 2020). STEAM (n.d.) is a PC gaming platform where anyone with a computer and an email address can sign up for a free account. This gives gamers access to an online store where they can download and play almost 30,000 games. Some games cost money to download, but SMITE and many other games can be downloaded for free (STEAM, n.d.). Rocket League costs around $20, but high school esports players receive the game as part of their fees when they create a PlayVS account (Melanie at PlayVS, 2020; STEAM, n.d.).
This is where it gets tricky. Controllers, like the XAC, seem to work the best with Windows 10 computers (Microsoft, n.d.). In addition, certain games work well with controllers while others do not (STEAM, n.d.). STEAM is one place where gamers can find controller compatible games. When you visit store.steampowered.com to browse the thousands of games available, STEAM allows you to sort between games that are and are not controller compatible. SMITE is not listed as a controller compatible game, but Rocket League is compatible. If you do a quick Google search, you may find ways to connect the XAC to MacBooks or to specific games like SMITE, but it may be more difficult and you risk downloading a virus if you have to download additional software (John, 2019; WPGN Gaming Videos, 2015). However, if you would like to use a controller to play a larger variety of games or if you would like to use a controller in place of a mouse and keyboard to access a computer, SpecialEffect recommends a downloadable program called JoyToKey (SpecialEffect, 2018). You can learn more about JoyToKey here: http://www.oneswitch.org.uk/art.php?id=33. For this post, I am going to describe how to set up your XAC to play computer games already programmed to work with controllers (e.g., Rocket League):