Xbox claims its latest efforts to clamp down on third-party accessories won’t impact accessibility-minded gamers who rely on third-party devices to play their games, so long as they keep using the Xbox-branded accessible controller.
Last month, Xbox released a patch that quashed various third-party accessories not explicitly authorized by Microsoft. Any device that Xbox doesn’t license would start receiving a “0x82d60002” error code. Those users then have two weeks to use that accessory before the Xbox disables it and shows users a dreaded “0x82d60003” code, permanently blocking the device.
In an email to Gizmodo, an Xbox spokesperson tried to reassure players that if they don’t already see an error code with their third-party accessory, then there shouldn’t be an issue going forward. We have asked Microsoft if the company had a full list of the accessories, controllers, and other products no longer supported by the consoles, but the company declined to share any more specifics.
“If players are not receiving an error code when attempting to connect an accessory to their Xbox console, then their accessory will not be impacted.”
Moreover, Microsoft has said there should be no issue with players using the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The device uses both USB and 3.5mm ports, which are standard in the accessibility industry for multiple connected devices.
The spokesperson specified that there’s no impact on licensed “Designed for Xbox devices listed on the Accessories Hub Page, as well as those that currently connect with the Xbox Adaptive Controller.”
Microsoft supports a few assistive peripherals that work with the adaptive controller, like the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro and Pretorian Technologies joysticks. What isn’t explicitly supported are some other devices that let users pick and choose which controller setups suit them best. We previously cited accessibility in gaming advocate and streamer SightlessKombat, who said he used a few third-party devices to facilitate his preferred controller setup when playing on Xbox.
Some players speculated this was to try and get in front of cheating devices like the Cronus Zen, XIM, and ReaSnow S1, which spoof controller inputs, allowing players to use a mouse and keyboard with aim assist in online matches. At the same time, device makers like Brook Gaming noted their steering wheel, fighting board, and controller adapter were all effectively bricked for Xbox players.
Over Twitter DM, SighlessKombat told Gizmodo that he didn’t think Microsoft blocking third-party accessibility setups was “intentional.” He said he uses a Brook UFB and Titan 2 to help select accessories that are most comfortable for him. The former might be affected by the accessories ban, but the latter seems to be working for now.
“Even the Titan 2 in the wrong hands could be utilized for nefarious in-game purposes,” he told us. “I’ll be keeping an eye on this as it unfolds to see what happens not only for fellow gamers without sight who might have wanted to try Brook boards or Titan 2’s but also fellow accessibility advocates and consultants who might run into problems with all of this moving forward.”
If the point of the ban is to keep cheaters at bay, then Xbox has its work cut out for itself. Back when Microsoft first released its Adaptive Controller, some players were concerned that nerdowells could use the 3.5mm ports to plug in cheating devices. More likely, Microsoft’s latest DRM is an effort to better reinforce the Xbox brand. We may see Xbox adding more accessories to its list of supported devices over the coming months.