Nintendo was working on its own cross-platform version of the Xbox Adaptive Controller

Hori Flex controller next to the Xbox Adaptive Controller
(Image credit: Hori, Microsoft)

The Xbox Adaptive Controller has proven itself a tremendously useful device for anyone with limited mobility to game without compromise. So much so that Nintendo may have been eyeing up its own version of the accessibility controller, with a view to making it platform agnostic.

Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé has spoken about the possibility of such a controller in an interview with Inverse (via TechRadar).

"Imagine an adaptive controller that you could play with your latest Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo platform. That's what we were working on three years ago."

Fils-Aimé left Nintendo in 2019 and cannot say for sure whether Nintendo still has hopes of creating such a controller. He notes that he would like to see it reach the market sooner rather than later, however.

"My hope is that the effort has continued. I'm not sure if it has or has not," Fils-Aimé says. "But also, my hope is that controller, and the ability for that controller to connect with all of the various systems, is launched and shared with consumers as quickly as possible."

There is a XAC-like device that works with Nintendo Switch already: the Hori Flex Assistive Controller pictured above. The device isn't quite as cheap as the $99 XAC, though it will also function with a PC, so it's another option for owners of either platform. While initially available solely in Japan, it now appears available elsewhere, too. The Hori Flex is actually an officially licensed Nintendo product, though whether that means anything for the development of an accessibility controller from Nintendo itself, I can't say.

Meanwhile, the Xbox Adaptive Controller has been well-received for its role in simplifying bespoke controller setups on PC and Xbox since its release in 2018. Though Microsoft told us last year that it is still "figuring out the benefits" of the controller and where to go next to improve accessibility in gaming. That includes working with developers to improve in-game accessibility options, and there's still plenty of work to do.

It now appears the XAC is headed to Linux, too. So that's one more potential platform where it can do some good.

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Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would later go on to win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top team as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. He also enjoys making short videos for TikTok and believes everyone reading this should go follow our account immediately.