Nintendo had plans to produce its own version of the Xbox Adaptive Controller that would’ve worked on any system.
Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé stated that during the early days of the Nintendo Switch, the company was inspired by the Xbox Adaptive Controller. In an interview with Inverse, he claimed Nintendo looked at Xbox’s device “as a jumping-off point” to make a platform-agnostic accessibility controller of its own.
That means the controller would’ve likely been compatible with other consoles, possibly including current-gen machines like the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. But since Fils-Aimé’s departure from Nintendo, the fate of the controller has been left up in the air.
“My hope is that the effort has continued. I’m not sure if it has or has not,” he said in regards to the device. “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.”
We’ve no design specifics of Nintendo’s would-be adaptive controller. So we really don’t know just how much inspiration the company took from Microsoft in order to design a pad that could be used by players with disabilities.
A first-party controller that works on a range of platforms certainly sounds useful, though. But it’s hard to say just how far Nintendo would’ve pushed the controller’s accessibility features.
Nintendo has since gone on to produce controllers that are compatible with non-Nintendo systems. A recent Steam client update added support for the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers, as well as several of its Nintendo Switch Online-exclusive pads like the wireless N64 controller.
Accessibility, in general, is something Nintendo has been sorely lagging behind on. Sony and Ubisoft in particular have made strides in providing comprehensive accessibility options for their games. And Microsoft’s own Xbox Adaptive Controller tries to make the best Xbox games accessible to gamers from all walks of life.
However, while innovative, the Xbox Adaptive Controller isn’t without its flaws. It’s more expensive than the Xbox Wireless Controller, and has shortcomings in regards to button mapping and being quite difficult to set up in the first place.
Had Nintendo seen its own adaptive controller to fruition, it may well have addressed the shortcomings of its Xbox inspiration. We’re in agreement with Reggie here, though; we’d love to see this controller eventually make it to market, especially if it can be used across consoles.