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Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller support is coming to Linux

The Xbox Adaptive Controller with the Linux mascot, whose poor arm is in a bandage.
(Image credit: Linux/Microsoft)
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Since late 2018, the Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) has been making PC gaming more accessible for gamers with disabilities and injuries. Now, thanks to the wit of one software engineer, XAC drivers will soon be coming to Linux.

With its incredible ability to adapt to each individual user's needs, the Xbox Adaptive Controller (opens in new tab) has given those PC and Xbox users who lack the full range of movement a chance to enjoy their favourite games. That's without having to MacGuyver game controller solutions out of random household objects, or resign themselves to not playing games at all (a true travesty).

With the help of software engineer and co-author of The Definitive Guide to Linux Network Programming (opens in new tab), Nathan Yocom, Linux users will soon be able to enjoy the freedom the XAC's modular gaming setup can bring, too (thanks Phoronix (opens in new tab)).

In order to bring Xbox Adaptive Controller support to Linux users, Yocom has been extending Xpad driver (opens in new tab) code that's already available on the Linux kernel. It brings with it support for the layer button, with 4 active states mapped to an Axis control, as well as the Xbox button.

The XAC driver code (opens in new tab) doesn't appear to be ready as yet, but updates are being added regularly and it shouldn't be long before Yocom is ready to bring this highly adaptable accessibility option to Linux users.

So, while last year Microsoft's inclusive lead revealed (opens in new tab) there's a "bit of a plateau" being faced in the field of designing accessibility tech, it appears the software side is far from standing still.

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Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been demystifying tech and science—rather sarcastically—for two years since. She can be found admiring AI advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. She's been heading the PCG Steam Deck content hike, while waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.