Rocket League gives AbleGamers a boost

AbleGamers' COO has created a new controller for wheelchair users

Alex Gervas
16th February 2020
AbleGamers’ COO, Steve Spohn, together with Bill Binko, founder of AT Makers, have developed a new adaptive controller for wheelchair users. 

Inspired by the game Rocket League, Spohn pitched the idea of using the already existing Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) from 2018 to create a new device. This adapter would allow gamers with disabilities to connect their wheelchair joystick and use it as a controller. 

I didn’t want to control my wheelchair with an XAC; I wanted my wheelchair to control my Xbox with or without the XAC. We talked about how the process of reversing the boards would be and the collaboration was born.

Steve Spohn

The Freedom Wing Adapter (FWA) uses a 9-pin-port that feeds the information sent from the wheelchair’s joystick to the Xbox through the XAC. However, the use of this adapter is not limited to the Xbox.

Spohn and Binko expect the FWA to be compatible with all wheelchairs and devices. For now, the available version can be used for the Xbox One, Windows 10 PCs and Google Stadia. Some users are even adapting it for the Nintendo Switch. Additionally, developers expect to release a do-it-yourself manual, as announced on Twitter. 

Presently, the Freedom Wing Adapter is not compatible with all powered wheelchairs, though developers defend that this is still a work-in-progress.

“The idea is for anyone to be able to play any game for an affordable price,” Spohn explained: “We wanted to give it away and let the world make the part that they need for as little money as possible.”

While AbleGamers will be giving away the adapters through a grant programme, the FWA can be made for a total price ranging between $30 and $40.

The Freedom Wing Adapter is expected to signify a fresh start for further accessibility and marks another step in continued work towards a less ableist gaming industry.

Featured image credit: IGDB

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