Sony reveals new accessibility controller for the PlayStation 5

by Danny Craig  · 
Updated
Sony reveals new accessibility controller for the PlayStation 5
Sony

Sony revealed its brand new customisable controller designed for players with disabilities at CES 2023, following the release of Xbox’s Adaptive Controller back in 2018.

The details:

  • The controller, codenamed “Project Leonardo”, was unveiled at the tech event CES on Wednesday. It was developed in collaboration with accessibility groups AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, and Stack Up. This was to ensure the controller could cater to as many gamers who struggle to use traditional control methods as possible.
  • Although designed to work directly out of the box, players will be able to fully customise the controller with different types of analogue sticks and buttons that come in varying shapes and sizes. Its round shape also allows it to be placed at pretty much any angle for either hand, ensuring a certain level of comfort in any position. Designer So Morimoto said in a blog post, “Because players can customize Project Leonardo according to their needs, there is no one ‘right’ form factor.”
  • The unique design of the controller was intentional as it allows players to not only use the controller by itself but it can also be paired with another Project Leonardo controller and a standard DualSense controller. Sony states the modularity allows players to “fit their particular gameplay needs”, but went on to add that the extra controllers can also be used by a second person to “assist by helping to control the player’s game character.”
  • There’s no set release date or price tag just yet, but considering we don’t have an official name for the controller itself, we’ll likely need to wait until Sony finalises the design before learning any of that.

What other accessibility developments have we seen in gaming?

  • Xbox released their Adaptive Controller in 2018 after years of development and prototypes. The controller features two large buttons and a d-pad on a rectangular hub, as well as two USB ports and 19(!) 3.5mm jacks to add assistive input devices that correspond to each button on the standard Xbox controller. More accessories have been created for the controller, including Logitech’s Adaptive Gaming Kit featuring a variety of different button types.
  • The Last of Us 2 made headlines in 2019 due to its in-game accessibility options, with many referring to the game as the “most accessible game ever.” The game featured a considerable amount of options that could be tweaked including altering the visuals, audio, and motor functions of the game alongside in-depth controller mapping and general gameplay assists.
  • Founded in 2018, CanIPlayThat? is a website focused on delivering reviews and other gaming news surrounding accessibility with the intention of informing disabled gamers, educating the industry as a whole, and spreading awareness of the barriers that many gamers face and have gone unnoticed over the years.