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2nd December 2018
Making Gaming More Inclusive: Companies & Controllers
[Advent Calendar 2018]

With Control due to be released next year, it felt like the perfect time to talk about accessibility and making our hobby more inclusive, especially as this time of year we hear more about consoles than usual.

Video games are still a relatively new medium and as such the progression to make it accessible to more people has been a slow transformation. Lately the topic has received more attention and as a result more and more companies are dedicating themselves to creating peripherals to allow controllers, analogue sticks, and keyboards to be more user-friendly for gamers with disabilities.

After being announced in May of this year, Microsoft has recently launched their XBOX Adaptive Controller, for gamers with limited mobility. The controller's slim frame, about a foot in length, features two large pads that can be mapped to any key or buttons allowing it to be tailored to the gamer's needs. The new controller has a series of 3.5mm jacks and USB ports allowing for additional peripherals to be added to expand the usability. The Adaptive Controller is compatible with XBOX One consoles and Windows 10. The downside to the device  is that it can be a little pricey at £75 for the base model, and that's without additional attachments, but worth it if it's something that would help make gaming easier. For reference, new XBOX One controllers (which originally comes with the console) can be in the price range of £40.

The XBOX Adaptive Controller have recently been named as one of Time's Best Inventions of 2018.

Organisations such as SpecialEffects and The Able Gamers Charity also help make gaming more inclusive too!

Special Effects is a UK-based company which works with individuals to create tailored set ups according to their needs. They make rigs for game titles with simple controls all the way to intense gameplay. On their site, they describe how they help gamers; "our support is always tailored to your abilities rather than the condition you have, so depending on what's required, a visit to our Games Room in Oxfordshire with its suite of accessible gaming consoles and computers may be a suitable way to see what works for you. We can also visit you at home if your disability limits your ability to travel. Our assessors know their games and adapted technology inside out, and our occupational therapists make sure that that the positioning and mounting will be right for any tech or modifications we recommend."

The Able Gamers is another charity, working to build technology and rigs to allow greater comfort and exclusivity in games. This organization is based in Washington and works with gamers in the US. Similar to Special Effects, the company has a space called the Center for Game Accessibility and Inclusive Play (located in Charles Town, WV) which helps the company to have a greater understand of what technology is best suited to the clients needs. Grants for special equipment can be applied for on their website, easing financial concern.

There are also a number of individuals and local businesses worldwide that work to bring gaming to everyone, so if you haven't found the perfect solution here, I encourage you to look at what is available in your area and also online services.


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