A Microsoft controller that makes it easier for people with limited mobility to play videogames has won a major industry award.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller, which allows gamers to use their own buttons, joysticks and switches to mimic a standard controller, has landed the Outstanding Contribution Award at the Golden Joysticks.
In awarding the prize for the first time, the judges agreed the controller has had a major impact on the entire gaming industry and gamers, while also pointing to Xbox’s diverse and inclusive range of avatars that were released last year.
“It’s an honour and privilege to receive the Outstanding Contribution Award for the Xbox Adaptive Controller at the Golden Joysticks,” said Evelyn Thomas, a Program Manager at Xbox who is involved in accessibility strategy and development.
“It’s a product that was designed with inclusivity at the heart and was formed through collaborations with amazing partners and individuals. We continue to be moved by the recognition it has received, helping it to stand out as a true first-of-its-kind – in gaming and beyond.”
The annual, London-hosted event is the second oldest gaming awards ceremony in the world and the largest to use public voting to decide the winners. More than three million votes were cast last year in dozens of categories, including Xbox Game of the Year, Most Wanted Game, Best Studio and Ultimate Game of the Year.
Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 4 were also both up for awards, with the latter winning the Xbox Game of the Year Award, while PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds won Mobile Game of the Year. However, it was the Xbox Adaptive Controller that particularly caught the judges’ eyes.
Daniel Dawkins, Global Editor in Chief of Golden Joysticks organiser GamesRadar, said: “The Xbox Adaptive Controller is designed to meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility and has been widely praised by the industry. Our judges are delighted to recognise this landmark contribution to gaming alongside Microsoft’s wider efforts to promote diversity and inclusion across their Xbox ecosystem.”
There are around a billion people across the world with a disability, including 13.9 million people in the UK. Research from Muscular Dystrophy UK found that one-in-three of the young disabled people they represent has been forced to stop playing videogames due to their disability.
Launched in September, the Xbox Adaptive Controller lets people choose which assistive aid will make the on-screen character jump, run or shoot, for example, without relying on pressing specific buttons on the controller that came with the console.
The device has delighted charities and gamers with disabilities, who say it will help them continue to enjoy something they love as well as connect with other people and be more independent.
It can be connected to any Xbox One or Windows 10 PC via Bluetooth, features 19 3.5mm input jacks and two USB ports. Two, large, easy-to-press programmable buttons and a D-pad means it can also be used as a standalone controller. The internal lithium-ion battery can be recharged, eliminating the need to change small batteries.