Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Sony unveils accessibility controller for the PS5

Sony revealed a brand new accessibility controller at CES yesterday.

Dubbed Project Leonardo, the highly customizable controller kit has been developed with key contributions from accessibility experts, game developers, community members and organizations like AbleGamers, SpecialEffect and Stack Up. With these efforts, the function of the accessibility controller from Sony is to help players with disabilities play games for longer periods and be more comfortable while doing so.

Sony’s blog on Project Leonardo states that the controller is “built to address common challenges faced by many players with limited motor control,” such as difficulty holding a controller for long periods, as well as the positioning of hands, fingers and thumbs, and pressing buttons/triggers.

The accessibility controller comes with a kit of components that players will be able to swap, e.g analogue stick caps, buttons in various shapes and sizes, etc. This will not only give players the access to create a controller that suits them, but doesn’t limit your options and takes into account the range of physical needs for players all over the world.

Project Leonardo will also have button mapping and controller profiles, the former giving players the opportunity to map buttons to support certain functions and the latter making it possible to store different programmed button settings and mapping to profiles. For example, you may use the accessibility controller in a different way playing God of War: Ragnarok in comparison to another game like Spider-Man.

What is particularly significant about this new accessibility controller from Sony is that, while it can be used as a standard controller, Project Leonardo is able to pair up with another Leonardo controller, as well as DualSense wireless controllers. If players want to, they can use up two Project Leonardo controllers and one DualSense controller together as one, singular, virtual controller.

Project Leonardo’s design has been described as both “flexible” and “adaptable” by Sony due to the controller’s dynamic, split design. For example, the controller does not need to be held to be used, and can instead be laid on a flat surface.

“Our team tested over a dozen designs with accessibility experts, looking for approaches that would help address key challenges to effective controller use. We finally settled on a ‘split controller’ design that allows near free-form left/right thumbstick repositionability, can be used without needing to be held, and features very flexible button and stick cap swapping.” Sony Interactive Entertainment designer So Morimoto shared. “Because players can customize Project Leonardo according to their needs, there is no one ‘right’ form factor. We want to empower them to create their own configurations.”

It has not been confirmed when Project Leonardo will be available to purchase.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.