The accessibility-focused Xbox Adaptive Controller is out now and usable on PC
Alternative use: Custom Beatmania controller
I don't need the Xbox Adaptive Controller, but there are a lot of people who do. Designed to make games more accessible for all, it's a customisable hub centred around a chunky pair of buttons and an oversized D-pad, designed to be used on any surface or even mounted. It's bristling with ports to attach assistive switches or sticks to, and can be used in tandem with a regular gamepad.
Theoretically, it should open up a lot of doors to people who would otherwise struggle with or just be unable to use a regular gamepad, and thanks to input from the likes of AbleGamers, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation and others, it's one of Microsoft's cooler projects in recent years. It's out now on Microsoft's store worldwide, along with a first wave of official peripherals.
The Adaptive Controller hub contains 19 3.5mm jacks for switches and buttons to be attached to, plus two USB ports for external inputs ranging from a Wii nunchuck-inspired single-stick controller, all the way up to analogue foot-pedals and even an officially recommended Logitech joystick. While customisable through its own Windows 10 software, its nature as an XInput device should hopefully (fingers crossed) make it compatible with Steam Input. If that works, you could bodge together an input solution for most PC games, even those that wouldn't normally support it.
While the Xbox Adaptive Controller won't be suited to everyone's needs, its flexibility will hopefully let a few more people enjoy games that they've otherwise struggled with in the past. Videogames are awesome - the more people enjoying them, the better. Give people the right tools, and they can do some truly astonishing things - see competitive fighting game player Mike "BrolyLegs" Begum, for example. My only concern with the Adaptive Controller at present its limited support for OS's before Windows 10, so watch out if you're on old software.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is available now direct from Microsoft for £75/€90/$100 for the hub, plus potentially a lot more for its accessories. You can see more on its official page here.