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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)
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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 (opens in new tab) (via TechRadar (opens in new tab)).

"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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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" (opens in new tab) of the controller and where to go next to improve accessibility in gaming. That includes working with developers to improve in-game accessibility options (opens in new tab), and there's still plenty of work to do.

It now appears the XAC is headed to Linux (opens in new tab), 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 his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.