By Grant Stoner | The Duquesne Duke
During the Microsoft E3 2015 Press Conference, the tech company unveiled its latest piece of hardware. According to the Xbox team, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller enables users the capability to enhance their gaming performance.
While features such as trigger sensitivity options, interchangeable thumb sticks and D-pads and removable paddles are beneficial for some, the ability to fully customize controls is the real selling point. This means that the Xbox One will now let people with physical disabilities the chance to enter the virtual world.
Those who have physical disabilities are usually limited with their choice of gaming systems. Often times, the control scheme for a particular game may be too difficult to manage. Certain buttons might be too hard to push, or the control stick might not grip well enough to be used properly.
Before the reveal of the controller, disabled gamers had the option to purchase specialized controllers from certain companies, such as Evil Controllers. However, modifications, including additional buttons, made to the controllers were not customizable, as well as being quite costly. Depending on what modifications are applied, the price for a controller can exceed $300.00, whereas the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller will only cost $149.99.
If an individual is having difficulty reaching a certain button, or perhaps lacks the strength to effectively press a specific input, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller allows disabled users to be on the same playing field as other gamers.
Through the use of an app, which can be paired with any Xbox One or Windows 10 device, players can load two sets of customized controls into the controller. This is more beneficial than one may think. Rather than having to change the customizations for each game, with a simple press of a button on the controller, disabled gamers can save time by quickly switching between customizable load outs.
Thankfully, Microsoft is not the only video game company whose products aid disabled gamers.
Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s gaming rival besides Nintendo, released a bevy of accessibility features in their system update 2.50, which released in March 2015. The update offers people the ability to adjust text sizes, change colors for those who are colorblind and provide players the ability to customize button inputs.
On the surface, the PS 4’s customization update appears to match Microsoft’s latest controller. Yet, disabled gamers may find problems with Sony’s tools, or lack thereof.
For example, each change which is applied to the console, cannot be transferred to another PlayStation 4. Furthermore, PlayStation only lets gamers save a single set of customizations. This means that disabled gamers are forced to enter new button combinations for every game that may be physically challenging.
Microsoft’s latest controller especially succeeds when dealing with portability. Unlike the PlayStation 4, the inputs are saved within the controller itself. People can travel with their controller without having to worry about losing their customization options and having to reset them each time.
With more companies adding features catering toward disabled gamers, video games will no longer be inaccessible. Disabled gamers can soon enjoy exciting Xbox franchises, such as “Halo,” “Gears of War” and “Forza”.
There is no doubt that the Xbox online community will grow, especially since it was recently announced, via Twitter, that all Xbox One controllers will receive customizable buttons in an eventual system update.
In the meantime, gamers can look forward to the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller launching on October 27. Here is hoping similar controllers follow in its wake.