The May unveil of the Xbox Adaptive Controller included a pledge from Microsoft: the company didn’t care if other gaming companies jumped on board, or even piggybacked on Microsoft’s product, to get more limited-mobility users into console gaming.
Neither Sony nor Nintendo has followed suit by unveiling official support for the $ 100 XAC, but one enterprising user has confirmed what we long suspected. Other consoles (in today’s case, the Nintendo Switch) can nimbly support Microsoft’s ambitious controller after jumping through simple hoops.
YouTube user MyMateVince posted his confirmation over the weekend (embedded below) along with a step-by-step guide of what’s needed to open the Nintendo Switch up to the XAC—and, thus, its support for USB joysticks and 3.5mm-port switches and pedals. The biggest requirement is a third-party USB adapter, and this test used the Mayflash MAGIC-NS Wireless Controller Adapter (currently under $ 25 at Amazon). This adapter was chosen in part because its retail box includes a USB Type-C adapter, which works with the XAC whether you set up the Nintendo Switch in docked or handheld mode. (Though this adapter is advertised as a wireless one, this test only confirmed wired XAC support.)
The other catch is that you’ll likely need to use the Xbox Accessories app to tailor the XAC for your favorite games and specific accessories. This requires either an Xbox One console or a Windows 10 PC, and the app lets you create three customized button mappings—specifically to remap the XAC’s giant buttons to work as, say, trigger buttons in a racing game.
MyMateVince otherwise confirms that the Mayflash adapter does a fine job translating the XAC’s buttons to those of a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, with the exception that Nintendo’s “BAYX” mapping is reversed from Xbox’s “ABXY” pattern of buttons. (The Xbox Accessories app lets you remap these as you see fit.) Both of the XAC’s USB ports translate to analog joysticks, should you have two USB joysticks handy, and the Switch’s “joystick calibration” option can redeem most any third-party joystick. The catch, of course, is that the XAC doesn’t include translations for Joy-Con motion controls, so certain games simply won’t work. (One example: Pokemon Let’s Go, which goes so far as to forbid the use of a Switch Pro Controller.)
The below video also confirms that you’ll need to switch a few menu settings to get XAC working (primarily a “wired Nintendo Pro Controller” toggle), but it’s all pretty simple stuff. Hats off to MyMateVince (and to ResetERA user JonnyDBrit, who brought this to our attention) for helping limited-mobility gamers get on board with Nintendo’s most mobile console yet. (For a refresher on exactly how gamers with missing fingers, hands, and limbs can potentially game better with the XAC, check out my lengthy impressions from September.)