Xbox’s Latest Controller Is A Real Game-Changer

Some of us are old enough to remember a time when not all controllers were created equally, when you went to your cousin's house to game and they'd hand you a shitty brick while they wielded the kind of joystick that looked it was salvaged from an alien spacecraft. But since the dawn of the Xbox and PlayStation era, controllers have gotten conveniently (and boringly) uniform. But that's about to change with Microsoft's launch of the most awesomely innovative controller in years, and all they had to do was focus on being inclusive.

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These days, console controllers are all basically the same: two sticks, four buttons, and they all look like rejected Batarang prototypes. Most attempts to deviate from this standard have tended to feel gimmicky, from strange gaming gloves and even vests to whatever unwieldy weirdness the tentacle-for-hands engineers at Nintendo are constantly cooking up. But in 2015, a long-overdue breakthrough happened when Xbox's research group started looking at helping one of the overlooked pillars of the gaming community: people with disabilities. The result was the Xbox Adaptive Controller, or XAC -- an acronym that just begs to have a T at the end of it. (C'mon, Microsoft marketing department. Try harder.)

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The XAC, which will come out later this year, is more a controller "hub" than it is a traditional controller. The base model is made for customization, making sure that it can be tailor-made for those of us who aren't completely satisfied by the standard controllers. The XAC can be attached to several types of mounts, has 19 3.5mm jacks for attachments ranging from joysticks to pedals to blowing tubes, and every button can be remapped in a way that you'll never accidentally throw a med-pack at a charging zombie ever again.

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More than just a much-needed piece of hardware, the XAC sends an important message to gamers with disabilities everywhere: "We see you, we want to help you dominate Overwatch rounds." But while the controller was created with a particular group in mind, all gamers should be excited of what the XAC can mean for the future of gaming. Its endless customization possibilities is something that has been missing from gaming hardware for ages, and it being a first-party accessory means the controller might quickly find its way onto the e-sports scene. Most importantly, it's again proof that encouraging diversity in gaming is the best way to move the medium forward as a whole, and we're sure that absolutely everyone in the comments section will agree.

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