AT CES Sony announced Project Leonardo for PlayStation 5, an accessibility controller meant to allow players with liabilities a highly customizable means of playing games on the console.
In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Sony’s Senior Vice President for Platform Experience Hideaki Nishino stated that Project Leonardo was designed to address common challenges faced by players with limited motor control. As such, the company developed the controller alongside accessibility experts, community members and developers.
Project Leonardo features a circular design with several slots to plug in modules for button and analog stick inputs in different positions, depending on the user’s needs. In addition, this PlayStation 5 accessibility controller will also be usable in tandem with a DualSense or even another customizable controller for further personalization. (Read: PlayStation 5 supply issues in Asia to be resolved by 2023)
“Our team tested over a dozen designs with accessibility experts, looking for approaches that would help address key challenges to effective controller use,” stated Sony Designer So Morimoto when talking to Wired.
“We finally settled on a split controller design that allows near freeform left/right thumbstick repositioning, can be used without needing to be held, and features very flexible button and stick cap swapping. Because players can customize it according to their needs, there is no one ‘right’ form factor. We want to empower them to create their own configurations.”
Project Leonardo is the first PlayStation 5-compatible accessibility controller from Sony, but it’s not the first such controller on the market. Microsoft released their Adaptive Controller in 2018 which was also meant to help players with disabilities play games on Xbox consoles. As with Project Leonardo, the Xbox Adaptive controller allows user to customize their inputs to fit their needs. However, the device relied more heavily on connecting with assistive input devices that the user may already have.
Meanwhile, Nintendo has yet to offer a first-party accessibility controller for the Switch, making gamers with disabilities have to rely on third parties instead.
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