The Xbox Adaptive Controller lets kids with disabilities play video games without limitations.

By Rebecca Macatee
February 04, 2019
Credit: bez_bretelky/Shutterstock

February 4, 2019

We weren't exactly shocked when the Patriots won Super Bowl LIII, but we were surprised that it was an Xbox ad that moved us to tears. This wasn't as just any video game commercial, though—it was Microsoft's ad for the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which is a device designed for gamers with limited mobility.

As several kids in the inspiring clip demonstrate, the Xbox Adaptive Controller helps to make gaming more accessible and inclusive. Because unlike most gaming controllers, which can be restrictive and cumbersome for users with limited mobility, Microsoft's Adaptive Controller is customizable to work more efficiently for each individual player.

As a nine-year-old boy named Owen says, "What I like about the adaptive controller is that now everyone can play." A young gamer gal named Taylor says she "[doesn't] even have to look at the controller" because it's so easy for her to use.

This adaptive controller is a literal game-changer for kids with disabilities, because it lets them play on the same level as all their friends. That's major, too, because as one mom puts it, "You never want your kid to feel like an outsider or an other."

Owen's dad explains that playing video games "[is] his way of interacting with his friends when he can't physically otherwise do it."

"One of the biggest fears early on was, 'How will Owen be viewed by the other kids?'" says the dad, adding tearfully, "He's not different when he plays."

One young gamer says that with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, she "can hit the buttons just as fast as they can." And another gamer says with a grin, "I think [with the adaptive controller] I can crush my friends."

As Owen puts it, "No matter how your body is or how fast you are, you can play. It's a really good thing to have in this world."

We couldn't agree more. What's even better is that the Xbox Adaptive Controller starts at just $99.99. We know that price tag might seem pricey, but as far as gaming equipment goes, it's really quite reasonable.

This was important to the creators of the Xbox Adaptive Controller from its beginning stages. As Microsoft Inclusive Designer Bryce told Variety, "Adaptive technology can be very expensive, which is why we wanted to make this as affordable as possible."

In developing the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Microsoft worked with several nonprofits, including The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect and Warfighter Engaged. The end result was a controller that makes gaming inclusive for more kids. This is awesome, because as the Microsoft tagline goes, "When everybody plays, we all win."

The fact that everyone's taking about this now-viral Super Bowl ad just further confirms what we already knew: Kids with disabilities are kids, and we're all in favor of adaptive technology and inclusive toys that allow everyone to play.


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