Unboxing the XBOX Adaptive Controller with Cerebral Palsy

Welcome back to Tech Tuesday as we continue our series on accessible gaming. Last week we discussed Accessible Gaming: Playing Video Games with a Disability. Today, we have something exciting to unbox. Usually, I’m not particularly eager to document unboxings, because to be honest no one what’s to see me with scissors or a knife in my hands. Sharp objects mixed with cerebral palsy is not a pretty sight. However, I’m making an exception for the XBOX Adaptive Controller, as I’ve heard that Microsoft has made everything accessible right down to the packaging. Let’s jump into my experience unboxing the XBOX Adaptive Controller with cerebral palsy.

Accessible Package Tape

The Shipping Packaging

At first glance, you would think that there was anything extraordinary about the brown cardboard that arrived on my doorstep. However, upon closer examination, you can easily see that the box tape is unique. It has a large ring that allows people with disabilities to pull it off without any trouble. From my experience, this was probably the most accessible box I’ve ever opened. Kudos to Microsoft!

Once the tape is off, the top of the box has a little lip that you can pull up, making it easy to open for someone with limited mobility. The box then lays flat, revealing the product packaging. We can then slide it off of the exterior cardboard.

XBOX Adaptive Controller in open shipping box
Accessible tape

Accessible Product Packaging

Microsoft has created a very clean packaging that matches the rest of their product lineup. As you can see in this picture, there is a tab on the bottom held down by tape with loops on it, similar to the box tape on the shipping box. Once the tape is removed, the large fabric tab is easy to grab and pull, which lifts the lid and lowers the bottom edge.

What’s Inside

Upon opening the box, you are greeted with a large loop connected to the instructions, which allows you to remove them, along with the adaptive controller itself effortlessly. Under the XAC and the instructions, there is another loop attached to a pocket that holds the USB C to USB A power cord.

XBOX Adaptive Controller

The XAC

As I mentioned in my last post, my previous adaptive controller quit working over the weekend. Instead of paying $500-$600 dollars for a new one that I couldn’t fix, I decided to go with the XBOX Adaptive Controller to help me make a customizable setup, as well as to allow myself to replace parts as needed. I like the idea of if I have a short in a cable, I can replace that switch or that cord and not the entire set up.

The Top of the XAC

The first button on the upper left side is the XBOX button, which is standard on all XBOX controllers. Directly below that and to the left, you have the multi-window button. I never know what to call it, so we will go with that for now. Then to the right of that is the menu button or start button. Below those two buttons is another button with three lights to the left of it. This controller allows you to have three different profiles or button configurations. So this button will enable you to switch between profiles. Then on the bottom left, there is a large D-pad, which is short for the directorial pad if you’re new to gaming. It has an excellent feel, and you really know when you’re pressing the keys. On the top right, there are two big buttons with great tactical feedback. Their default is A and B, but you can configure them differently in the XBOX accessories app, just like the other regular controllers.

XBOX Adaptive Controller Top

The Bottom of the XAC

On the bottom, the XBOX Adaptive Controller has three mounting holes to mount on chairs, tripods, and other adaptive mounts. According to Microsoft’s XBOX website, the mounting holes are “1/4-20 screw designed for AMPS compatible mounts. °-20 screw designed for tripod mounts.”

Bottom XAC mounting holes

The Ports

XAC with switch

Switch Connectivity

On the backside, there are 19 3.5mm jacks, and this is where the magic happens! These look like you could plug in 19 pairs of headphones, but that’s not what they are; rather, they are ports for assistive switches. Standard switches, such as those pictured here, use 3.5mm male to female connections to connect different interfaces. The large red button is called a Jellybean switch. I used this with my old controller as a foot peddle. You can plug into any of these backs ports, and it will act as that button. The small black switch pictured here is pretty cool! It’s called a bite switch. You can put in your mouth, and every time you bite down, it activates a button. It’s great for games like Call of Duty and The Division or any first-person shooter games, where the right or the left trigger is hard to hold down. Instead, you can bite down and shoot, which is what I used it for in the past.

XAC Switch Ports

USB and Audio

The XAC also has two USB Type-A ports, one on either side of the controller to hook up joysticks and other peripherals. I most likely won’t use these for a while, as I don’t have any joysticks readily available. I’m incredibly interested in trying co-pilot and using the thumbsticks on the regular controller. Next to the 19 switch ports on the back, there is a USB C port for power and console connectivity, as you can use this controller wired or wirelessly.

Next to the USB port on the left side, there is also a 3.5mm headphone jack that will export audio to your headset.

Next Steps

I’m really looking forward to setting the Adaptive Controller up with my XBOX this week and playing with it, and I’ll let you know how I like it in my review, which will be out in a week or two.

If you use this controller, let me know your tips and tricks in the comments below or Click Here to send me a message.

Until next time, take care of yourself and others.

Blake Shelley

Are you looking for an accessible life? Innovative, determined, and inspiring are words that describe Blake Shelley, motivational speaker, and the author of Breaking Chains. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of six months, Blake has found ways to adapt and overcome adversity. Through this blog, Blake shares his experience and thoughts on technology, ability, and empowerment through the lens of accessibility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *