Known for making some of the best third-party game controllers you can buy—including options for the Xbox—8BitDo is once again taking inspiration from Microsoft with a new compact gamepad designed to accommodate players with limited mobility that moves almost all of the functionality to dedicated buttons.
Back in 2018, Microsoft revealed its Xbox Adaptive Controller, which looks nothing like the controllers included with the company’s consoles. The XAC was more reminiscent of an arcade-style controller, but instead of joysticks, it featured a pair of over-sized pads, a more traditional D-pad, and 19 3.5mm input jacks allowing a wide variety of accessories to be attached and used as button inputs. Although it took decades after the first home consoles arrived for companies to make gaming more inclusive, Microsoft’s XAC was a welcome innovation, and while at $100 it wasn’t considerably more expensive than a standard Xbox gamepad, 8BitDo has a more affordable solution enroute.
This new controller was originally created to assist a young gamer named Oskar Karlsson who has a rare neuromuscular disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 2. Oskar’s father, Andreas, reached out to 8BitDo directly with the request, and the pair helped the company test out various prototypes over the past year before the new 8BitDo Lite SE was finalized.
The most obvious difference between the Lite SE and the other controllers and gamepads that 8BitDo makes is that almost all of the functionality has been replicated using individual buttons on the face of the controller. That includes the D-pad, shoulder and trigger buttons, as well as the L3 and R3 buttons (which are traditionally activated by pressing in on the analog sticks). The Lite SE still includes a pair of analog joysticks, but along with the buttons, they have been made easier to press with less physical resistance and more sensitivity.
Pressing buttons while holding a controller can also sometimes be a big challenge for some gamers, so as with Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller, the 8BitDo Lite SE features a flat bottom with a no-slip rubber grip (which appears to be optionally removable), allowing it to be placed and used on a flat surface without the controller sliding around when the action gets intense.
The 8BitDo Lite SE accessible controller is officially available for pre-order through the company’s website starting today for $35, with shipping starting next month on July 15. Even though the Lite SE is only compatible with the Nintendo Switch and devices running Android, that’s still an accessible price point, and it’s now the cheapest 8BitDo controller you can get that has a pair of analog joysticks.