Ever since the first console was launched years ago disabled gamers have been eagerly awaiting the day when all of our favorite peripherals that make the PC so accessible would be usable to do the same on our Xbox or PlayStation.
That day is drawing near.
Meet XIM Edge, a nifty little piece of technology that allows you to use your keyboard and mouse to control an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. But that's not all this thing does.
I had the opportunity to sit down with the owner and creator of the XIM series. “Accessibility was built into the XIM from its inception,” said OBsIV, creator of XIM. “I have a passion for the disabled community and it was important to me that we support disabled gamers.”
Actually you can check the owner’s manual, accessibility is written right in the description.
What makes this piece of technology such an accessibility champion?
Simple. XIM Edge allows your PC to plug into the device and control your Xbox or PS3 directly from your computer. Not only that, but the SDK called XIM Bridge works with various community written programs such as XIM Commander and XIM Emulator to capture any input given to your computer directly to your console.
That means that your specialty keyboard, mouse, Adroit, head mouse, TrackIR, Smart NAV, X-Keys, Ergodex and any other device that your computer recognizes will now work on your Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
The setup is relatively easy, although you will need to spend some money. You will need a wired Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 controller, a Belkin USB Easy Transfer Cable, and of course, your XIM Edge.
Take the transfer cable and plug it from your PC into your XIM. Plug the controller into the XIM and plug the XIM into your console. Load up either Commander or Emulator and bam, accessibility.
XIM allows you to remap any button to any switch. Need more versatility? Plug Adroit or X-Keys into your PC to gain more switches. You can control the analog sticks with your mouse, joysticks, TrackIR, Smart NAV or whatever device you normally use. Voice-recognition software, such as VAC, will work the same as it does for PC games as well.
Now, by default your mouse is captured and on-screen keyboards are rendered useless. XIM Commander has some settings that allow you to use the mouse while still controlling the XIM, but more testing needs to be done to verify which on-screen keyboards will work.
We have had XIM in the AbleGamers’ testing lab for a few weeks and have so far found comfort on screen keyboard works relatively well. In addition, most USB devices we could find work flawlessly with XIM and we see no reason any USB device shouldn’t work. Unfortunately, devices such as switches that are 3.5mm don't have any way to directly put into XIM, but that's where Adroit or X-Keys comes into play.
We are also working closely with the creator of XIM and he has offered his full support to AbleGamers and our readers to further enable more individuals with disabilities in the future.
In the meantime, if you ever dreamed of controlling your console via your computer and all the fancy gadgets we can use with the PC… XIM Edge just might be the ticket.
What do you think? Is XIM the Holy Grail of accessibility?