A little more than a year ago, Microsoft introduced a new Xbox One controller for hardcore gamers during its E3 2015 presentation. Called the Xbox Elite Wireless controller, the new gamepad was designed in collaboration with pro-level players and offered premium materials, extra buttons on the back and more mapping options through the Xbox Accessories app.
While the $149 controller quickly became a popular hit among Xbox enthusiasts, the customizable gamepad also offers a lot of value for people with disabilities who need special and expensive controllers to enjoy video games. Craig Kaufman, Program Director at the AbleGamers Foundation explained why to the folks over at Engadget.
“There’s a social isolation that happens for people with disabilities when you’re inside all the time,” explained Kaufman to Engadget. That’s why the AbleGamers Foundation tries to help improve the quality of life of people with disabilities through the power of video games. According to Kaufman, the removable parts, extra buttons and mapping options found on the Xbox Elite controller can sometimes be a good replacement for more specialized controllers that can be used with one hand or mounted on a wheelchair. That’s why the foundation has started buying Xbox One Elite controller to give them away to disabled people.
To demonstrate the versatility of the controller, Kaufman even filmed a video of himself using the controller with his mouth and just one hand and showed it to a man who lost the use of one his hands. “This is a $150 solution that you can go buy at Wal-Mart, and it helped that dude with a stroke play games. That’s huge,” he explained. Kaufman also sent Microsoft a gamepad layout for first-party title Gears of War 4 that doesn’t use the controller’s triggers, and Microsoft accepted it.
Lastly, Kaufman explained that it makes sense for the video games industry to be more inclusive to sell more games, and Microsoft seems well aware of it according to him. “The fact that we give these out is huge for them, and they’re always looking at how to include more players,” he added.