I am all for gaming companies making gaming and games more accessible. Gaming is a hobby that should be able to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of disability. PlayStation’s first-party studios are at the forefront of making their games accessible. God of War Ragnarok is one of the most accessible games there is, so accessible in fact that a legally blind man was able to play the entire game without much issue.
Sony and PlayStation are taking their accessibility goals a step further and have introduced Project Leonardo. An accessibility controller kit for PS5 that is highly customisable to the needs of the user.
As announced by PlayStation chief Jim Ryan at the 2023 CES show, Project Leonardo is designed to remove barriers to gaming, be more comfortable and allow players with disabilities to play for longer periods and more easily.
The Project Leonardo PS5 accessibility controller has been designed using conversations and help from accessibility experts and gaming accessibility charities, including UK-based SpecialEffect.
Hardware and Software Customisation
A more detailed write-up of the accessibility controller was posted on the PlayStation Blog shortly after the CES announcement. Writing on the PS Blog, Sony Interactive Entertainment Senior VP of Platform experience says that Project Leonardo is “a canvas for gamers to craft their own play experience.”
The controller includes a kit comprising swappable components, including a variety of analogue stick caps and buttons in different shapes and sizes. Players can use these swappable components to create a wide array of different control layouts. The distance of the analogue stick can also be changed to suit the player’s needs and preferences. The components let players find a configuration that suits the player’s strength, range of motion and particular physical needs.
Hardware isn’t the only thing that is highly customisable with the Project Leonardo accessibility controller for PS5. On the PS5, players will also have a range of software options to tailor their play experience the PlayStation Blog explains.
The Project Leonardo PS5 controller will have custom button mapping and control profiles as described below:
- Button mapping
- The controller’s buttons can be programmed to any supported function and multiple buttons can be mapped to the same function. Conversely, players can map two functions (like “R2” + “L2”) onto the same button.
- Control profiles
- Players can store their programmed button settings as control profiles and easily switch between them by pressing the profile button.
- Up to three control profiles can be stored and accessed by the player from their PS5 console at any time.
Works with other devices including the DualSense
The Project Leonardo PS5 accessibility controller will also work with other accessibility accessories and the DualSense. Up to two Project Leonardo controllers and one DualSesne can be used together as a single virtual controller. This lets players mix and match devices to fit their needs or to play collaboratively with others.
The PS Blog explains that players can augment the DualSense controller with a Project Leonardo controller. Or two Project Leonardo controllers can be used on their own. The controllers can be dynamically turned on or off and can be used in any combination.
The Project Leonardo controller can also be expanded through 3.5mm AUX ports and can support a variety of external switches and third-party accessibility accessories.
You can read the full details of Project Leonardo on the PlayStation Blog.
Project Leonardo Price & Release Date
Project Leonardo is still in development and no release date or pricing information has been revealed. There is also no release window at present but we will surely hear more about this exciting accessibility controller in the near future.
Source: Sony CES/PlayStation Blog