What Is the Xbox Adaptive Controller and How Does It Work?

What you should know about Microsoft's accessible controller

A man in a wheelchair using the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

Microsoft

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is a special device designed to make it easier for those with physical and mental disabilities to play video games. The device was released in late-2018 in the United States and has since been made available in most major regions around the world.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller's Design

The design of the Xbox Adaptive Controller appears very basic at first glance, with two giant black circle buttons replacing the traditional A and B buttons next to a larger-than-normal D-pad and slightly bigger Xbox One menu buttons.

Despite its streamlined appearance, though, the Xbox Adaptive Controller also features 19 ports for additional accessories that, once connected, can work as inputs for the other buttons on the regular Xbox controller, such as X, Y, RT, RB, LT, and LB.

How Is the Xbox One Adaptive Controller Different?

With the proper accessories connected, the Xbox Adaptive Controller can fulfill all of the main functions of the traditional Xbox controller.

Xbox Adaptive Controller accessories.
Microsoft

Its primary, and most-obvious, differences are its form factor, which makes it easier to use by those with low level physical coordination, and its customizability that allow it to be adapted for individual use cases.

Available Xbox Adaptive Controller Accessories

The Xbox Adaptive Controller’s 19 ports support a wide variety of additional first and third-party hardware accessories that can customize the inputs of each Xbox controller button and make gameplay more accessible for those with specific needs.

Due to the niche factor of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, the controller and all of its accessories aren’t typically sold in physical retail stores and need to be purchased online.

Here are some of supported accessories for the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

Which Consoles Support the Microsoft Adaptive Controller?

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is fully supported on all Xbox One consoles, including the original Xbox One, the Xbox One S, and the Xbox One X.

Xbox Adaptive Controller and the Xbox One S console.
Microsoft

Like the regular Xbox controllers, the Xbox Adaptive Controller can also be used with Windows computers and tablets running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

Windows 10 is the recommended operating system for the Xbox Adaptive Controller as it offers greater support for gaming and controller customization via the free Windows 10 Xbox Accessories app.

Support for the Xbox Adaptive Controller is expected to continue with future Xbox consoles and Windows operating systems. It connects to Xbox consoles and Windows PCs via Xbox Wireless Bluetooth and USB-C.

Where Is the Xbox Accessibility Controller Available?

Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller is available to purchase in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the United States.

The primary place to purchase the Xbox Adaptive Controller is from the official Microsoft Store website, though other online stores may also sell it.

The Microsoft Store website typically ships internationally, so even if the Xbox Adaptive Controller isn’t officially supported in your country, you may still be able to import it by ordering it online.

Video Games That Support the Adaptive Xbox Controller

The Xbox Adaptive Controller can be used to play most video games on an Xbox One console, including Xbox One titles and those playable via backwards compatibility from the Xbox 360 and original Xbox console generations.

The only Xbox games the Xbox Adaptive Controller can’t play are those that rely purely on input via the Kinect sensor or smartphone, such as Dance Central Spotlight and the Just Dance series.

On a Windows PC, the Xbox Adaptive Controller can be used to play any game that features control options for the regular Xbox controller. Any Windows 10 game with the Xbox Play Anywhere brand is guaranteed to support Xbox controllers.

Does the Xbox Adaptive Controller Support Headsets?

A 3.5mm stereo headset jack is located on the Xbox Adaptive Controller. This audio jack supports most common headphones, headsets, and earphones.

However, USB headsets are not supported. Neither are the original Xbox headsets designed specifically for the regular Xbox controller.