Last year's Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) led a new era of gaming accessibility, but it doesn't have to be final. What a specially designed Microsoft controller board delivers in features and openness, especially for gamers who can't use standard gaming keyboards, the device has lost clarity.
The $ 99 XAC comes with only two useful keys for standard PC and console gaming, and Microsoft said it's designed so gamers with disabilities can attach preferred buttons and control options to a range of 19 plugs. This was great news for anyone who is familiar with the wildlife of available games or who already owns extra keys. But problems did arise, add-on maker Logitech told Ars Tech when XAC's good press and popularity drew new, confused people to Microsoft's official stores and official Microsoft stores.
"We talked to Microsoft retailers – people at Microsoft Store, and they kept telling us, 'We don't know what to recommend to people. "People buy XAC, and then they ask: What What [buttons] should he go with this? & # 39; The guy at the store can't estimate needs. The carer doesn't know [from a gaming standpoint], or "
Convert a "variable" to a constant
This is changing this week with a $ 99 pack of Adaptive Gaming Kit, which begins to answer the basic question of Logitech's estimated "80%" of gamers with disabilities. Logitech offered Ars Tech a brief overview of the package before sending us a set of samples so we could not talk about its build quality or whether it was a decent lease.
However, based on my testing and research since the beginning of XAC, I'm already forced to applaud the launch of Logitech, at least in terms of apparent value and usability.
The essence of the Adapted Gaming Kit is a set of 12 discrete buttons that connect via 3.5 mm XAC ports. It's easier to analyze as a list:
- Three circular buttons, 2.6-inch diameter
- Three circular buttons, 1.4 inches in diameter
- Four Easy Touch Buttons
- Two "changeable" triggers
Most articles on the XAC launch include photos of these types of buttons, with the idea that users with different disabilities or needs will buy each a la carte to add more functionality outside of the XAC and the near standard Xbox One controller. But it doesn't take long to reach the $ 99 spend threshold of 3-4 keys, which barely covers the full range of standard game play. At a fair price, Logitech did the right thing. Target XAC users are likely to need less than four discrete keys, so save money compared to the rest of the hassle of going with the Logitech set.
On top of that, Logitech includes two hook and loop boards and matching connecting cables in this package. XAC users are likely to want to add extra buttons to these types of boards so they can stay more stable while near the control part of the choice: footrest, fingerless arm, even head. And they are the perfect free bonus for a set that is already reasonably priced.
To top it all off, the included "variable" triggers play nicely with pairs of 3.5mm analog XAC ports. Most 3.5mm controller accessories only offer a binary switch functionality on / off. Good for most controller functions, but not one that Logitech has identified as a popular genre for disabled gamers: racing.
"If you look around [special needs] market … I haven't been able to find a good replacement with a variable actuator, "says Starett." If you wanted to use gas and brake on Forza, stuff like that, there was no solution. Binary digital buttons only. So we include two of those in the set. I'm a racer, and so many people we've met. They want to play these games and fight this crazy, 100% gas job. "
From 200 joysticks to $ 99
Logitech says the project started on the side when Microsoft started before banning Joysticks from borrowers to test a secret project. (Starrett says they gave more than 200 joysticks for that purpose before finding out what XAC actually is.) The Logitech design team was covered in form, protocols for connecting and launching plans for XAC before its launch, but the team failed. realize how many steps were left open for potential buyers, with additional buttons, until after launch.
"I will not read blindly [the Xbox team]The views, but they don't do much peripherals traditionally, "says Starrett." They make their controllers and consoles. They don't want to be in peripheral business at this level, I don't think. Meanwhile, we are very expert in this field. We've done a lot with Microsoft, we've been supporting their platforms for years. It was a natural thing [to team up on an adaptive controller bundle]. Maybe they went and did it themselves, if we didn't say, "We'll do it and work with you."
From there, Microsoft handed Logitech its Rolodex for researchers and experts with special needs games, including the non-profit UK Special Effect, a mountain rehabilitation center. Sinai Hospital and XAC Director Brice Johnson. From that point on, Logitech spent the next year designing the controllers as it "wiped out the profit margins" to reach the $ 99 package price. The resultant package is now on sale at logitechg.com and at most of the US store in Microsoft; will come to Microsoft's European stores "if not one day, then shortly thereafter."