Technology

Xbox Controller For Those With Accessibility Needs Coming

new Xbox controller, Microsoft

Microsoft is always working to expand the user base of the Xbox console, and now, it seems to be focusing on getting those with various types of accessibility needs into gaming. For this, the company is reportedly working on a new Xbox controller, reports Windows Central.

An image of Microsoft’s new Xbox controller has also leaked online, thanks to Twitter user WalkingCat. The image shows the controller with two oversized A and B buttons, along with other impressions near the top catering to different functions. The new Xbox controller also includes a three-light LED indicator, suggesting the controller could be programmed with different modes. The LED indicator is similar to the second-generation Xbox One Elite controller leak.

Further, the controller is also shown to have a USB port and a headphone jack. The USB port could help users program the controller for use with various Xbox One games or apps.  The controller bears the standard Xbox logo command button for turning the controller on and off. There is no information if the buttons are touch-sensitive or not. The new Xbox controller is codenamed Project Z.

“We are always exploring ways to deliver the best gaming experience for our fans, but have nothing more to share at this time,” Microsoft said of the leaked image, according to CNET. More details or even the release of the new Xbox controller is expected at E3 next month. Microsoft’s E3 keynote is scheduled for June 10.

Mostly all love gaming. However, the perfect experience requires precise controllers, which are primarily designed keeping in mind the usual gamers. So, these controllers often present difficulties for those with accessibility needs.  There are organizations like AbleGamers that work to customize controllers for helping such gamers get the best gaming experience. It also modifies existing controllers to allow gamers to get the best possible solution.

Now, it appears, Microsoft also wants to do its part in a social cause that could also help boost the popularity of its consoles. Though the new Xbox controller (if it’s real) may not serve all needs, it surely is an effort in the right direction. Also, it would not be the first time Microsoft has worked for the gamers with accessibility considerations.

Earlier this year, Microsoft received the Helen Keller award from the American Foundation for the Blind for working on technology to support users with visual impairment issues. One notable achievement for the company was with former NFL player Steve Gleason. Microsoft helped Gleason, who suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease, to better his quality of life by including features in Windows 10 to help users control some functions with their eyes.

Also, the Xbox One Elite controller is seen as a boon for the disabled gamers. The Elite controller is customizable, and its parts can be easily detached and replaced, notes Engadget. Further, last week, at the annual Build conference, the company announced a $25 million initiative to use AI for helping people with disabilities.

The five-year initiative – referred to as AI for Accessibility – will work to address the challenges faced by people with disabilities in three areas – modern life, employment and human connection. Also, at last year’s Build conference, the company revealed a free smartphone app called “Seeing AI.” The free app uses the phone’s camera and computer vision to narrate the real world environment.  There is also a Microsoft Translator, which supports real-time captioning of conversations.

Separately, talking about what more we could expect from Microsoft at E3, the company has already promised “in-depth looks at previously-announced games to trailers for our unannounced titles coming in 2018 and beyond.” Though there is no information on the games that will be talked about at the event, it can be assumed that one among them will be Crackdown 3.

Further, Microsoft will also present a new show Inside Xbox at the E3. The program, which will air a day after Microsoft’s press conference, will “feature a livestream full of exclusive announcements, game demos, interviews, give always and more.” The company will also be streaming on the Mixer between June 12 and June 14. This year, Microsoft is supporting six different languages for its stream via its streaming service Mixer. The supported languages are: Portuguese (Latin American), French, Italian, German, Spanish (Latin American), and English.

The E3 will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center between June 12 and June 14.