How to Play Cooperatively on Console

Show Transcript

In this video, we will look at how we enable players to play cooperatively on games consoles with another player to share the controls in-game.

We work with a wide range of players who want to play a variety of different games. Some games may be playable with a single stick and three or four buttons, such as EA FC or Forza Motorsport when certain accessibility settings are turned on.

Other games may need you to access every button, triggers and both analog sticks on a controller.

If playing either of these types of games or those in between is difficult, then it may be challenging to play a game independently. However, it may be possible and enjoyable to play these games cooperatively for some players.

Cooperative play is when one person has access to some of the controls and another person plays with them and has access to the rest of the controls. It is a way to share controls so two players can play as Player One, in-game.

Some people can access one button, and some people can access the majority of the controls but find certain aspects of the controller difficult. Cooperative play means that you can potentially play any game, even if the controls are very complicated.

In this video we are going to talk about how cooperative play can work on different games and on different consoles, to open up more games to different players. Either as an introduction to playing video games or as a long-term way to play them together.

Single switch

Some of the people we work with are only able to access a single accessibility switch. With cooperative play, they can use their switch to access a wide variety of games on different platforms. When used with a compatible switch interface, you can choose an appropriate in-game action to control. You can then use the switch for the corresponding input.

In this example we are playing Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch. I have a single accessibility switch connected to the Hori Flex interface, which when pressed will activate the L button, which will launch the weapons. Joe is driving the Kart using the buttons on the Hori Flex interface acting as steering, gas and brake.

It is also possible to play more complicated games with a single switch. In this example we are playing a first-person game on the PlayStation 5. I am using a single switch which is plugged in to the Access controller and is doing the shoot button. Joe is doing the rest of the controls with a paired DualSense controller.

Single joystick

Sometimes people can have good access to a joystick but using any buttons alongside can be difficult.

In this example we are playing a racing game on an Xbox Series X console. I am steering the car with a joystick that is plugged into the Xbox Adaptive Controller, and Joe is controlling the accelerator and brake with a Copiloted Xbox controller.

Multiple Inputs

Variations on this would include players sharing, but using multiple inputs each. In this example I am using one joystick and three buttons to control some of the most frequently used inputs in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator. Joe is supplementing these alongside me, using the additional inputs required.

Some of the players we work with have quite extensive set-ups with multiple buttons and joystick access. However, some games require pretty much every button on the controller to play. In these situations, it may be helpful to play with someone who has access to these buttons as and when needed.

In this example, we are playing Assassins Creed Valhalla on the Xbox Series X. I have access to a lot of the controls with my set-up. However, I do not have access to the Dpad buttons or menu buttons. Joe is using a standard controller and presses these buttons for me when the game requires it.

Setting up Cooperative Play

It is possible to set up cooperative play on the PS5, Xbox One and Series consoles and also on the Nintendo Switch. However, how you set this up varies from console to console. I will briefly explain how to set up cooperative play on these consoles. However, we have other posts and videos that go into this in more detail.


Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles have an inbuilt setting called Copilot. This enables you to connect two standard Xbox controllers, a standard controller and an Xbox Adaptive Controller, or two Xbox Adaptive Controllers.

You can find and turn on the Copilot setting in the Xbox accessories app.

If you would like more information on how to set up Copilot on Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles, we have added a link to our Copilot video in the description below.

PlayStation 5

On PlayStation 5 you can connect two standard DualSense controllers through the Assist Controller feature. Or, if you are using an Access controller, you can have one Access controller and one DualSense controller working together to control Player One.

You can also have two Access controllers and one standard DualSense controller all working together to control Player One in-game.

To get two DualSense controllers working you go into Settings > Accessibility > Controllers and select Use Second Controller for Assistance.

To use one or two Access controllers you just connect them by their USB-C cable and then press the PlayStation button. If it is the first time you have used your Access controller you will need to work through the set-up menu. Otherwise, you can unplug the USB-C cable and use it wirelessly, or leave it plugged in if it needs charging.

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch does not currently have any inbuilt software that allows cooperative play. However, it is possible to set this up with different hardware options.

The Hori Flex is a controller interface for the Nintendo Switch that allows external switches and joysticks to be used. The Flex has all of the Nintendo Switch buttons on the top of it which somebody can use to play alongside.

You can also plug a compatible controller into the Hori Flex to get access to the left or right joystick. However, the buttons on the connected controller will not work, so you would need to use the buttons on the top of the Flex controller alongside the left joystick or the right joystick on the connected controller.

The other option for Cooperative play on the Nintendo Switch is to use an Adapter. The one that we use is called the ‘Titan Two’. This adapter enables two controllers to be plugged into the Nintendo Switch. In this example we are using an Xbox Adaptive Controller alongside a Power A Nintendo Switch controller. For more information, please see our GameAccess post, which gives more detail on how to set this up. The link is in the description below.

There may be alternatives to sharing controls for some players or increasing the number of controls that a player can use. This would include looking at ways that a player may be able to use more controls themself, such as by splitting controls around different parts of their body.

It could also be that utilising different technology, such as voice controls, alongside your existing set-up could be an option.

It is also possible to double up in-game actions using shifting and profile shifting options. More information on this can be found in the video description.

We hope that this video has been a useful introduction to playing on console cooperatively. For more information on the motor accessibility of video games, please look at the GameAccess videos and website.

In this video, we will be looking at some of the options used at SpecialEffect, to enable players to play cooperatively on games consoles. 

Cooperative play is when one person has access to some of the controls and they play with a second person who has access to the rest of the controls. It is a way to share controls so two players can play as Player One, in-game. Whether the person can access one button, or can access the majority of the controls but finds certain aspects of the controller difficult, cooperative play means that you can potentially play any game, even those which are very complex.

We will introduce some of the input methods we use, as well as some of the specific equipment and console features in different situations.

Please use the timestamps below to navigate to the relevant sections.

Video Timestamps

0:00 | Introduction

1:20 | Single Switch

2:29 | Single Joystick

2:57 | Multiple Inputs

4:23 | Xbox One and Xbox Series Consoles

4:52 | PlayStation 5

5:46 | Nintendo Switch

6:55 | Alternatives to Sharing Controls

7:28 | Outro

The information in this video is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing (May 2024).

For further information on equipment that can be used for cooperative play, please use the Equipment Sub Categories on the home page, such as ‘Switches‘ or ‘Joysticks‘, or tags such as XAC or ‘Titan Two‘.

Links/topics mentioned in video:

Using an Xbox Adaptive Controller on a Nintendo Switch:…

Voice Control:

XAC Copilot:…

Profile Shifting Example 1: Access controller:… (Profiles: 3 minutes 18 seconds in) 

Profile Shifting Example 2:  XAC Game Controller Mixer:…

Video by Tom Williams

Music: Michael Drake, Quarantined and Ben Potter, Endless Summer