Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller almost didn’t make the cut into production, but it sounds like teams from across the company intervened to see that the project received its funding.
In an interview with The Verge, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows and devices Robin Seiler revealed the Xbox Adaptive Controller was once “on the cut list,” and at risk of losing funding. The controller initially began as an employee-driven effort to improve accessibility options, seeing its first iterations at company hack-a-thons.
According to Seiler, employees across the Xbox and Surface teams saved the project, leading to collaboration between global divisions determined to “make it happen.”
Seiler says that when faced with budgeting woes, the teams maintained, “No this is actually important for the world. This isn’t about revenue or brand positioning; it’s just important for people to be able to play games if they want to.”
Microsoft employees go on to describe a culture shift at the company post-Xbox Adaptive Controller launch, prioritizing inclusivity. That message remains consistent and came up as recently as last month at Tokyo Game Show when Xbox boss Phil Spencer and corporate vice president Sarah Bond stressed the importance of eliminating barriers between players. Bond highlighted the Xbox Adaptive Controller, while Spencer described a desire to see everyone play together “no matter your ability.”
Speaking to IGN, Xbox director of accessibility Anita Mortaloni echoed those sentiments and explained how cooperation throughout the industry improves accessibility.
“Yes, we can all totally do a whole lot individually, but when we come together, and partner and share ideas, be it across companies or with the community, we get a lot more done, and we are able to advance the industry a lot farther,” Mortaloni said.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller made its debut back in 2018, and Microsoft continues to add more accessibility accessories to its offerings. This year, the company revealed its plans for the Microsoft Adaptive Mouse and Adaptive Keyboard. Other accessibility initiatives at the publisher include game evaluations, a process where developers can review guidelines and seek feedback in collaboration with Xbox’s Gaming & Disability Community.
Andrea Shearon is a freelance writer at IGN