Customizable PS5 controller kit helps players with disabilities game on
At CES 2023, Sony unveiled Project Leonardo, a customizable controller kit for the PlayStation 5 that allows players with various disabilities to design the best input layout that works for their specific needs.
Accessibility is becoming more and more of a focus in gaming, with developers considering new ways to help people who might normally be overlooked play games more comfortably. For instance, two of 2021’s heavy hitters, God of War: Ragnarok and The Last of Us Part I, had extensive accessibility options to help people with visual, auditory, motor or intellectual disabilities still enjoy the games. And since 2020, the Game Awards have included a category recognizing Innovation in Accessibility.
Now it looks like Sony is extending that consideration to hardware as well, with a new customizable controller kit. Codenamed “Project Leonardo,” the still-in-development kit is a major departure from the classic controller configuration. The base unit is a radial dial of large buttons, with another in the center and a joystick poking out of one side.
Those buttons can be mapped to any input on the regular DualSense controller, or even represent groups of simultaneous button presses. The components are all swappable, with buttons and stick caps available in different shapes and sizes. The units can also be mixed and matched, using one or two Leonardo controllers, and with or without the DualSense.
Project Leonardo controllers don’t need to be held – they can lie flat on a table or wheelchair tray, or attached to a mount or tripod. The system is expandable too, with four AUX ports allowing third-party accessories, like specialty switches, buttons and sticks, to be plugged in and configured to perform any function necessary.
The circular design also means that the units work just fine in any orientation, and at any distance apart. Altogether, the system allows users to create just the right layout for their own dexterity, range of motion and other needs.
Players can set up their preferred control schemes in the PS5 system, and save up to three different profiles per console for easy switching.
It’s good to see Sony finally catching up in the accessibility realm – after all, Microsoft revealed its own system, the Xbox Adaptive Controller, way back in 2018. Either way, it’s nice to see that more people have more options for play.
The value of Project Leonardo is described in the video below.
Source: PlayStation blog