Android Access, Episode 2: How to Use the Xbox Adaptive Controller on Android Devices

Show Transcript

At SpecialEffect we aim to highlight the motor accessibility options that may make playing game more accessible for some players.

In this video we are going to look at how an Xbox Adaptive Controller can be used as an option to create a customised controller for playing Android games.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller, also known as an ‘X.A.C’ or ‘Zak’, was created as a first party controller for Xbox and Windows, but it is also recognised as a supported controller on Android devices.

The XAC is a controller which can be used as an accessibility switch and assistive joystick interface and also includes some buttons built-in. This enables you to customise your set up with a range of switches and joysticks that you find easier to access than the buttons and sticks on a standard controller. You can use it to play Android games, which have controller support, on devices using Android 5.1.1 or later.

In this video we will show you how to connect an XAC to an Android device and also some examples of the switches and joysticks we use with it at SpecialEffect.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller connects in the same way that a standard Bluetooth controller would connect. You can’t use a cable to connect it. You connect it using Bluetooth.

Step 1. Turn on Bluetooth:

The first step is to turn on your compatible Android device, and open Settings, then ‘Connections’, Select Bluetooth and turn On. You can often also access the Bluetooth setting by swiping downwards from the top of your screen and selecting the Bluetooth icon.

 

Step 2. Turn on and sync your XAC:

Next you need to press and hold the guide button with an Xbox ‘X’ icon on it to turn on your XAC and press the Sync button to the right of the Y switch port on the back of the XAC. The light on the XAC should flash rapidly and you should see Xbox Adaptive Controller listed in the Available Devices list on your Android device.

 

Step 3. Pair your XAC:

Now we just select the discovered Xbox Adaptive Controller listed on your available devices.

Depending on your device settings, you may need to enter your password to pair it.

For this device, it required approval of the Bluetooth pairing request.

 

Step 4. Set up your controls:

Once paired, you can plug in the combination of joysticks and buttons you require to play a compatible game.

Many games will require additional inputs alongside those found on the XAC itself, so joysticks and accessibility switches will need to be added for these. Different games will require different inputs.

 

An online search may help to discover what these are, or you may need to install and open a game to find out. For example, for Sonic the Hedgehog Classic, I would need access to the Left Stick or D-Pad as well as the A button to Jump. Then you plug in your preferred input method- here we have opted for a Oneswitch Ultrastik joystick and the Large button from the Logitech adaptive gaming kit, to give us a large joystick and button to use with a certain amount of resistance offered to activate them.

We could also use a smaller low force joystick, such as this J3 one from Celtic Magic, alongside a low force accessibility switch like this Ultra-Light HD one from Marblesoft, to give us lighter controls with less resistance.

Some of the other joysticks we use at SpecialEffect with the XAC are:

·       OneSwitch ZikZaks with various bases

·       OneSwitch standard and low force XAC Mini joysticks

·       Celtic Magic feather joystick

·       Pretorian Optima Joystick

·       Evil Controller’s Mini XAC Thumbstick

…and some of the accessibility switches are:

·       AbleNet Buddy Buttons

·       AbleNet Specs Switches

·       Other Switches from the Logitech Adaptive Kit

Step 5. Finding compatible games:

You can find compatible games by searching for them in the search bar of the Google Play store. We have another video showing some games which are compatible with the XAC on Android as a starting point.

Please be aware certain games may cost money to buy or have in-app purchases.

Additional Tips:

Depending on your Android device, you may be able to interact with the operating system using the XAC to open games. You may need to move their location to the home screen, for instance, using touch first, to do this.

To disconnect the controller, you can either hold the Guide button with an Xbox ‘X’ icon on it for approximately 5 seconds or you can turn it off in your Android devices Bluetooth settings.

To update your controller’s firmware, use the Xbox Accessories App on an Xbox One or Series console or on a Windows 10 or 11 PC. To charge the controller, you can use an AC Adapter which is sold separately or connect it to an Xbox or PC.

We hope that this video has been useful. For more information as to what joysticks and buttons can be used with the XAC, you can use the XAC tag on the SpecialEffect Game Access Site.

In Episode 2 of this short series looking at access to Android games, we are going to look at how an Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) can be used to create a customised controller, as an alternative option to using the touchscreen or a standard controller.

The XAC was created as a first-party controller for Xbox and Windows 10/11, but it is also recognised as a supported controller on Android devices. It acts as a controller interface, allowing you to customise your set-up with a range of switches and joysticks that you find easier to access than the buttons and sticks on a standard controller. You can use it to play Android games, which have controller support, on devices using Android 5.1.1 or later.

Timestamps:

0:00 | Intro

1:21 | Step 1: Turn on Bluetooth

1:49 | Step 2: Turn on and sync your XAC

2:17 | Step 3: Pair your XAC

2:36 b Step 4: Set up your controls

4:23 | Step 5: Finding compatible games

4:49 | Additional Tips


Links:

Episode 3 in this ‘Android Access’ series looks at some games that can be used as a starting point for players using an XAC on Android: Episode 3

Episode 1 looks at examples of touchscreen and controller options and settings in some Android games that may help improve the motor accessibility of a game for players. This may also be of interest to game developers looking to improve the motor accessibility of their game for players: Episode 1

Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) – For additional information on the XAC, use the ‘XAC‘ tag on the GameAccess website.

Music in Episode 2: Dawning Light by Tristan Barton, Eminence Landscapes (Pizzicato version) by Ian Post and To Edinburgh by Ian Post (all artlist.io).