Proteus Xbox controller is an accessible gamepad made of modular cubes

It provides customizable input options for players with disabilities.


Xbox is expanding its accessibility footprint with the Proteus Controller, a modular gamepad created by nascent peripheral company Byowave as part of the Designed for Xbox program. The Proteus Controller is a group of palm-sized cubes that can be connected to each other in a wide variety of configurations, with interchangeable faceplates that include standard controller buttons, analog sticks and a directional pad. This means players can set up the Proteus Controller to be used in individualized ways: in one hand, flat on a desktop, as part of a traditional gamepad with palm grips, connected to a joystick, and other setups.

The Proteus Controller is available for pre-order now at a discounted price of $255. It's expected to ship in the fall. The full kit includes two power cubes, two analogue cubes (with Hall effect sensors), one half cube and two spacers, plus the swappable peripherals. There's a D-pad, left trigger, right trigger, two single-button options, an XYAB diamond, a mini analog stick and the Xbox home grouping. It also comes with left and right handles to create a traditional gamepad, and socket and plug covers featuring Byowave's cute blue beastie. A USB-C charging cable and Bluetooth dongle are included in the package.

Byowave is selling the Proteus Controller in tiers, and it has just 150 available at the $255 VIP Price. After that, it'll have 500 kits available at $268 (Early Bird), and then 1,000 kits available at $284 (Pre-Order). The standard price of the Proteus Controller will be $300.

As evidenced by the built-in Xbox home button, the Proteus Controller was backed by Microsoft and at launch it'll work only with Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Windows 10 and 11. It will not work with PlayStation 5 or Switch — at least not at first.

"It is very important to us to be officially licensed with console companies to ensure a seamless user experience and so that we can ensure the longevity of the controller," the Proteus FAQ reads. "We would love to partner with these platforms in the future! 🤞"

The Byowave team says it can't verify that the Proteus Controller will work with Steam Deck, but they're hopeful that it will. They encourage interested players to reach out directly for more information about Steam Deck integration.

The Proteus Controller is part of the Designed by Xbox program, which means it was developed alongside Microsoft's gaming teams and should work seamlessly with the company's hardware. Companies like Razer, Turtle Beach, PowerA and Logitech also sell gadgets with the Designed by Xbox logo, but the Byowave partnership marks a new emphasis on accessibility products in this space. Microsoft today said it's accelerating and streamlining the Designed by Xbox onboarding process for hardware manufacturers focused on serving the disability community.

The announcement of the Proteus Controller is part of Xbox's recognition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Xbox has been a leader in accessible gaming hardware since it launched the Adaptive Controller in late 2018. The Adaptive Controller is a reimagined, deeply customizable gamepad designed in partnership with AbleGamers, Warfighter Engaged, SpecialEffect, Craig Hospital and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and it was the first piece of hardware from a major manufacturer to focus on players with disabilities. It costs just $100 and allows users to plug in their own third-party peripherals to create their ideal gaming setup.

The Adaptive Controller is also getting some love for Global Accessibility Awareness Day, as laid out on Xbox Wire: "Based on community feedback from an update impacting unauthorized accessories on our platform, we are updating the Xbox Adaptive Controller to expand support for more accessories connected via USB port. This update will better support full functionality of some accessibility peripherals."

Each port on the Adaptive Controller will now support up to 12 buttons, a second stick and a hat switch. The update will hit Xbox Insiders first over the next few weeks and it'll go public through a controller update prompt in the coming months.