8BitDo, a Hong Kong-based gaming hardware company, has announced that it is launching the 8BitDo Lite SE, a Bluetooth controller specially designed to make gaming more accessible to gamers with limited mobility.
The controller was made possible by a collaboration between 8BitDo and Andreas Karlsson to help his son Oskar, who has spinal muscular atrophy type 2 (SMA2), a rare neuromuscular disorder that affects the nerve cells controlling motor neurons. In other words, the disorder doesn’t allow him to stand or walk independently, so he uses a wheelchair as a means of navigating the world around him. It also makes playing video games with regular controllers difficult, so Andreas reached out to 8BitDo, who helped the father-son duo test out various prototype controllers before settling on the Lite SE design shown in the video below.
The Lite SE controller took everything the Xbox Adaptive Controller had and shrunk it down to the size of the iPhone SE. Instead of the DJ turntable-esque gamepads, the compact controller still has the analog sticks but makes up for it with every individual button being placed on the face. The L2 and R2 buttons that are usually embedded on the shoulders of a regular controller are respectively placed above the D-Pad and letter buttons. The L3 and R3 triggers, which are normally activated by pressing down on the analog sticks, also have their own special buttons just above the analog sticks to make it easier to press with less physical resistance and more sensitivity.
The one thing the Lite SE controller has in common with the Xbox Adaptive Controller is the non-slip rubber matt, which allows players to place the controller on a flat surface, like a table or tray, without it sliding off if they press on the buttons too hard. The matt can be removed if they intend to hold the controller in their hands the whole time.
Despite the earlier size comparison to the iPhone SE, the Lite SE controller is only compatible with the Nintendo Switch and Android devices. It’s available to pre-order for $35, and is expected to ship out July 15.