Attack of the Fanboy

Microsoft Patents New Xbox Controller Aimed At The Visually Impaired

Another controller designed for accessibility.

by Jelani James


It looks like Microsoft is doubling-down on its commitment to assist disabled gamers. It first illustrated this intent back in Sept. 2018 with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, and now it might soon do so again with an Xbox controller with haptic braille output.

For the time being, though, this controller merely exists as a patent — one whose technology was patented in Oct. 2018, but was only released last week.

That said, it’s clear Microsoft has a clear idea of what it’s going for.

As you can see in the illustration, the controller takes the same general appearance of the standard Xbox controller, but has a braille display attachment on the rear with six paddles extending from the sides. Through these, players will be able to take usual actions such as merely playing the game or entering text; but now the opposite now can occur, where a combination of the paddles would provide feedback similar to someone reading actual braille depending on the situation, such as during a tutorial or in the pause menu.

On top of this, the controller would be designed to be able to recognize the user’s speech commands and convert the commands to braille.

All in all, there isn’t anything to really complain about with Microsoft’s potential controller at this point. If anything, the only concern one would have is how well it would handle different genres. It seems well-suited for slower-paced titles, but might be lacking when things start to speed up.

At any rate, it’s little use concerning ourselves over the potential demerits of this design — it’s still in the planning stages and could very well change.

There’s also always the possibility that this — much like many other patents — don’t see the light of day, but considering the success of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, as well as the importance of controllers like this in general, Microsoft would be fools to not at least try.

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