Microsoft’s accessibility-focused controller

Microsoft has released a new accessibility-focused controller. That’s flippin awesome.

One of the coolest things about gaming is its potential to connect different people. As I travel, often some of my strongest touch points with different cultures and geographies are gaming-centric. When I was in Seoul, having been a StarCraft fan for the better part of a decade I felt like I was stepping into a city and culture with which I was already somewhat familiar. Coming to Taiwan, in the back of my head was that this is where Sen is from. This is where the Flash Wolves are from. Without gaming, I might not have any frame of reference at all, and I might not have even been inspired to visit these places at all. The difference between knowing nothing about a place and knowing of someone incredible from that place is absolutely enormous.

In a similar way, gaming has been something that has helped open my eyes to people who play in entirely different ways. Watching NoHandsKen (a twitch streamer who plays PC games using just his mouth) has given me a huge window into an experience I’d otherwise never get to know. Following AbleGamers on twitter has given similar insights.

Because of this I was pretty elated to see the new accessibility-focused controller from Microsoft. I hope things keep moving more in this direction as gaming becomes more prevalent in pop culture and as things shift towards VR/AR. After all, when your representation of yourself is digital, where and how you exist physically no longer matter anyways. A lot of gaming’s potential on this front (connecting people across lifestyle/culture/geography/experience/perspective) is still very much unrealized, but the potential of games to breed empathy is huge.