The Xbox Adaptive Controller

V&A museum adds Xbox Adaptive Controller to gallery on groundbreaking design

The Xbox Adaptive Controller has been added to a V&A gallery dedicated to groundbreaking moments in design.

The controller, which was released on September 4, lets gamers with limited mobility plug in assistive aids such as buttons, joysticks and switches to allow them to play videogames on Xbox and Windows 10 PCs.

The V&A, the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance, has acquired Microsoft’s product for its Rapid Response Collecting display. The area, on the third floor of the seven-floor museum, was opened in 2014 and explores how current global events, political changes and pop cultural phenomena impact, or are influenced by, design, art, architecture and technology.

Other products in the Rapid Response Collecting gallery include a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a Lufsig soft toy, a set of Bolide HR handlebars, a personal genetic testing kit and a LEGO set.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller on display at the V&A

The Xbox Adaptive Controller on display at the V&A

Corinna Gardner, Senior Curator of Design, Architecture and Digital at the V&A, said: “The Rapid Response Collecting is about bringing objects into the museum that signal moments of economic, political, social and technological change. It’s contemporary design history in action.

“The Xbox Adaptive Controller was an object that we thought very much captured a specific moment within the field of videogames but also more broadly about social and inclusive design. It’s a real opportunity to bring an object into the collection that addresses the question of inclusive design head on. It’s an important and attractive acquisition for us here at the V&A.”

The Xbox Adaptive Controller delighted charities and gamers with limited mobility when it was unveiled in May. They say it will help them continue to enjoy something they love as well as connect with other people and be more independent.

There are around a billion people across the world with a disability, including 13.9 million people in the UK. Research from Muscular Dystrophy UK found that one-in-three gamers has been forced to stop playing videogames due to their disability.

Chris Kujawski, Senior Industrial Designer at Xbox, said it was an honour to see the controller placed in the V&A.

“This is the most important project that I’ve been a part of at Microsoft because of the impact it will have on people,” he said. “It’s an honour to have a product that we designed in a museum.

“The recognition of inclusivity and gaming that this provides is good for the industry, and it’s great that Microsoft is being recognised as a leader in this space. I hope it inspires other companies and the next generation of designers to build hardware that’s inclusive.”

The Xbox Adaptive Controller, which can be connected to any Xbox One or Windows 10 PC via Bluetooth, features 19 3.5mm input jacks and two USB ports. Gamers can plug their third-party devices into these, with specific support for PDP’s One-Handed Joystick, Logitech’s Extreme 3D Pro Joystick and Quadstick’s Game Controller.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is in the Rapid Response Collecting gallery of the V&A

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is in the Rapid Response Collecting gallery of the V&A

Two, large, easy-to-press programmable buttons and a D-pad means it can also be used as a standalone controller. The internal lithium-ion battery can be recharged, eliminating the need to change small batteries.

Up to three profiles can be saved on the controller, allowing people to quickly switch between set-ups depending on the game they are playing.

Even the packaging has been specially designed to be opened by gamers with limited mobility.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is available to buy now, priced at £74.99. Sitting alongside 12 other objects, It will have a permanent place in the free area at the V&A, in London, which houses a collection of more than 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity. The V&A also displays a copy of Minecraft, as well as a hooded sweatshirt and action figure of the Creeper from the game in its Museum of Childhood.