In recent years both John Lewis and Sainsbury’s have started a trend of creative Christmas adverts for television that pull at consumer heartstrings and remind them of the impending holiday spending period.
Microsoft have jumped on this trend with a new Christmas advert, and it’s proven to raise their status in the eyes of consumers everywhere for one key reason. Their Christmas advert uses the Microsoft Adaptive Controller as the focus, showing consumers just how well it enables those with disabilities to play games in any way that suits them. The advert brings a new slogan to the Christmas period from the company, ‘when everybody plays, we win’.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller was revealed earlier this year and released in September. The controller has a number of customisable inputs that make it possible to adapt it for any game, and almost any disability. Those who aren’t able to grip the standard Dualshock 4 or Xbox controllers will find the Adaptive Controller a breath of fresh air, one which is built to suit them instead of every other gamer.
The controller is the focus of the advert but it doesn’t take up much screen time in the advert. Instead the focus is on a nine year old boy, named Owen, in a wheelchair. The accessibility message is at the heart of the advert, with the controller being the pinnacle of that theme in the way it’s presented to Owen.
The advert is poignant given two recent incidents in the industry. Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu have come under fire for forcing players to use the Joy Con Controllers in order to capture Pokemon. Activision has also seen some heat from players for refusing to add subtitles to the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, preventing deaf gamers from being able to understand what is being said.
Developers want their games to be as inclusive as possible, leaving no one out when it comes to their player base. However, with nothing quite like the Microsoft Adaptive Controller available until this year, gamers with disabilities have had to resort to custom built controllers from charities such as Level Up. Hopefully this controller marks a trend for the industry which will continue long after Christmas.