May saw Microsoft announce the Xbox adaptive controller, marking one the biggest steps towards an accessible gaming industry to date, the controller will sit alongside existing Xbox products, allowing a new audience to take part in the joy of gaming.
The first-of-its-kind controller for gamers with limited mobility, Xbox have gone above and beyond in designing the new adaptive controller, ensuring a truly accessible experience, extending the lessons learned in designing the device through the entire product design, even the box.
“There’s no with us, without us”
A statement speaking to the difficulty in designing products for individuals with limited mobility, and how many previous attempts at creating inclusive products often falls short on their promises.
By including individuals with various mobility and mental impairments, the product design team treated tester feedback with equal consideration to that of a team member, listening, and implementing design considerations and advice from testers into the final product.
Kevin Marshall & Mark Weiser, PAC Design spoke of how the XAC fits alongside existing Xbox products “We wanted to ensure the packaging fit within the Xbox packaging ecosystem – a true member of the controller family – and didn’t want to create separation or ‘otherness’ from the Xbox brand. We wanted gamers to say, “Wow, this is truly an Xbox product.”
A shortlist of features found in the full packaging includes;
- Both the single-shipper and retail package have been designed to “unfold” to reveal what’s inside with minimal friction.
- Discreet air cells integrated into the shipper packaging for protection for the product while maintaining a small footprint and clean design.
- Every major step of the unboxing incorporates loops, a feature that we heard resounding positive feedback on from beta testers.
- An open cavity area under the controller, enabling multiple ways to remove the controller from the box, including pulling via the loop or sliding it out directly.
- A low center of gravity, grounding the unboxing experience and creating a sense of stability for the end-user.
“through continued engagement with the disability community and research groups that we grew our understanding of what accessible packaging could include. Every time we approach packaging in a new way, we strive to learn as much as we can and leverage those insights across all our work.”
The Xbox Adaptive Controller – complete with accessible packaging – is available for gamers in September of this year, and available for pre-order now for $99.99 USD from Microsoft Store. Learn more about the Xbox Adaptive Controller here.