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Disabled Videogamers Get a New Controller


Charley Gentry

Online games are an important social outlet for Charley Gentry, who plays using just his chin. Most people he plays games with online are not aware of his disability.

Credit: Sarah Fahim

Microsoft Corp. is making its first videogame controller designed for people with disabilities, the latest in a growing number of industry efforts to accommodate players who face challenges seeing, hearing, and directing the on-screen action. The tech giant unveiled the Xbox Adaptive Controller for Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 computers.

A mass-produced piece of gaming hardware is long overdue, advocates say. More than 33 million people in North America play videogames with some kind of disability, ranging from colorblindness to missing limbs, according to AbleGamers, a nonprofit that pushes for more accessibility in the videogame industry.

Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller is meant to work for gamers with a wide range of physical limitations. It is lightweight and rectangular like a keyboard, with large programmable buttons and 19 inputs for connecting peripherals disabled gamers might require, such as foot pedals or joysticks.

From The Wall Street Journal
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