The Xbox Adaptive Controller inspired Nintendo to make its own

Mark Barlet Holding The Xbox Adaptive Controller
(Image credit: AbleGamers)

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 departed 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 regarding 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."

Xbox Adaptive Controller

(Image credit: Future)

Playing catch-up

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 to design a pad that could be used by players with disabilities. 

A first-party controller that works on various 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 regarding button mapping, and is 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 agree with Reggie here, though; we'd love to see this controller eventually make it to market, especially if it can be used across consoles.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.