Video games can open up a whole new world for those with disabilities, and AbleGamers is here to help.
The program, dedicated to improving the quality of life of those with disabilities using the power of video games, has dedicated resources to improve their circumstances. Just some of its services involve providing support to developers looking to ensure people with disabilities are included in their games, connecting gamers with disabilities to a larger community, and providing caregivers.
But sometimes, its work revolves around the advancements of gaming companies, and building on top of them to provide support for those it serves. That was the case when Microsoft released the Xbox One Elite controller last year, which AbleGamers has begun providing to gamers with disabilities as an easy and cheaper alternative to gamepads made specifically for people with disabilities. Some of these other alternatives allow for response to breathing, can be mounted on wheelchairs, or offer single-click solutions for more complicated actions like using analog sticks, Engadget said.
But because these controllers often cost upwards of $400, the $150 Xbox One Elite controller provides a great option.
But what about Microsoft’s newest gamepad makes it such an excellent option for those with disabilities? As Engadget notes, aside from the controller being considered top-of-the-line for serious players, its options for customizations and extra buttons on the back of the hand grip gives easy use to those who are disabled.
“Additionally, the Elite has removable parts, including the analog sticks. For people who play with their mouths, this is a key feature, since it allows them to replace the sticks and keep the gamepad clean,” Engadget wrote. “People can even 3D print custom parts to make playing easier.”
AbleGamers program director Craig Kaufman has been providing these controllers to people with disabilities, and the fact that he can send it via Amazon Prime provides a further accessibility that other options do not. Most pricier game controllers for people with disabilities come custom from the manufacturer, and can take long periods of time before delivery.
Kaufman told Engadget that there’s a social isolation that happens for people with disabilities when you’re inside all the time.
With the new controller, “it’s — bam, you can play games. It’s awesome,” he said.