1. ITV Report

New Xbox controller launched for people with disabilities

A new game controller for people with disabilities has been launched. Credit: Microsoft

A new gaming and computer controller designed for people with disabilities has been launched for both Xbox and Windows 10.

The device allows people to plug in a range of assistive aids, which can be assigned their own function - for example, making the character run, jump or shoot - instead of relying on pressing specific buttons on the controller which comes with the console.

It comes after research by Muscular Dystrophy UK found that one-in-three gamers had been forced to stop playing video games due to their disability.

Microsoft worked with a number of charities in designing the Xbox Adaptive Controller, as well as a number of people with disabilities.

Among them was 25-year-old George Dowell, who was left paralysed from the chest down after breaking his spine in a crash in 2010.

The controller can be used with other devices, or on its own. Credit: Microsoft

“It’s brilliant. Before this I used arcade sticks that can be adapted for button ports, but they were unreliable, and I often had to ask someone to help me make them work," he said.

"I play FIFA and it works very well with that because you can remap the buttons to do different things.

“It’s given me more independence."

He said he hoped other companies would follow suit.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller connects to any Xbox One or Windows 10 PC via Bluetooth, and features 19 3.5mm input jacks and two USB ports.

Players can plug their own devices into these, with specific support for certain joysticks and controllers.

George Dowell plays FIFA with the Xbox Adaptive Controller. Credit: Microsoft

It can also be used as a stand-alone controller, and three profiles can be stored, allowing people to switch between set-ups depending on which game they are playing.

Oxfordshire-based SpecialEffect was one of the charities which helped design the controller - and chief executive Mick Donegan welcomed its "huge potential".

“Our experience in helping people with complex physical disabilities to access video games has enabled us to provide not only very relevant advice about features and design, but also direct feedback from a user-centred perspective," he said.

“Microsoft has a product here that has the potential to help many people globally to enjoy the magic of video games.”

The controller is due to be released later this year.