The esports industry has been growing rapidly in recent years, thanks in part of the popularity of games like Fortnite and League of Legends. Microsoft is now working to bring more players to the arena. The tech giant unveiled its first video game controller designed for people with disabilities, the company announced in a blog post on Wednesday.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller for Xbox One and Windows 10 computers will provide gamers with physical limitations a mass-produced and more affordable piece of hardware than the custom, expensive gear they had to buy if they wanted to play video games.
"For gamers with limited mobility, finding controller solutions to fit their individual needs has been challenging," Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, wrote in a blog post published Wednesday. "A number of individuals and organizations are creating custom solutions, but it has been often difficult for them to scale when most rigs need to be so personalized."
Other companies are striving to make their equipment more inclusive, such as by adding subtitle features for on-screen dialog or allowing color changes to the programming, according to The Wall Street Journal. In the U.S., more than 33 million people with physical limitations play video games, the nonprofit AbleGamers, which focuses on accessibility in the gaming space, told the Journal.
The enhanced accessibility comes as esports continues to gain massive momentum--the industry is expected to grow to $1.7 billion in 2020, from the current $1.1 billion. What's more, the U.S. audience is expected to increase by 41 million to 258 million people between 2017 and 2018, according to SuperData Research.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is expected to go on sale later this year and will cost $100, about $40 more than the standard models.