In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controllers are set to be given to veterans with limited mobility. The collaboration will set up these controllers at 22 VA rehabilitation centers in the United States.
Microsoft’s President of U.S. Regulated Industries Toni Townes-Whitley stated that the collaboration is part of a larger effort to improve therapeutic and clinical care for veterans. In addition to this, the VA rehab centers will help Microsoft by gathering information on the effectiveness of the controllers in assisting veterans, as well as how they can be improved.
“It’s an example of using technology as a means to a much more significant end, which is a sense of belonging, being part of a team, a sense of re-connection, a sense of family,” states Townes-Whitley.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Gaming Phil Spencer states that the collaboration is an ideal pairing of Microsoft’s efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in gaming. This is thanks to VA’s extensive reach. The department’s health care system takes care of more than 9 million veterans nationwide.
In addition to this collaboration, PC Gamer is also reporting that the VA’s Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events will also get access to Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controllers. They will be using these for their events such as the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.
Gaming has quickly become a tool to help veterans and military personnel deal with their issues. Last year, a study found that gaming helped relieve stress for veterans, help them cope with moods, and provide a way to connect with others.
“One of the biggest things kids and adults with disabilities face is the stigma of being different,” states Jamie Kaplan, a recreation therapist at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital who has been using gaming as therapy with his patients. “Online, we’re all the same. I could be missing my arms or my legs and you wouldn’t know it. Gaming really helps to promote that feeling of normalcy and feeling of belonging.”
Microsoft getting involved could mean the start of a more serious push into using video games to help veterans.