Sony announced a major leap forward in gaming at CES this week with the launch of the Project Leonardo controller. This is an Accessibility Controller Kit for the PS5 that aims to make gaming on the console more accessible for people with a variety of disabilities. Who else could find it much more difficult or even impossible to enjoy games on the PS5 at all.
The Project Leonardo controller is a highly customizable controller that allows users to tailor the setup to their specific needs and playstyle. It features interchangeable buttons and joystick caps that can be rearranged and ordered in a variety of ways. Sony says it’s out-of-the-box, opening up ways for people to play “easier, more conveniently and for longer”.
While the controller is still in development, Sony seems to be on the right track. The company spent time collaborating through discussions with organizations like AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, and StackUp, as well as numerous accessibility consultants, to create the current form of this product. Sony designed the controller to address specific issues that gamers with disabilities might have. Whether it’s difficult to press small groups of buttons or just holding the controller for a long time.
To that end, the controller lies flat and gamers can basically rearrange the buttons to suit their needs. Players can even adjust the analog stick distance to be closer or further away. However, the customization goes much deeper.
Project Leonardo’s controller offers a wide range of control layouts
It’s not just about rearranging the buttons or adjusting the joystick’s distance from the gamepad. The controller also comes with a collection of buttons of different shapes and sizes. Players who may need larger keys to play more comfortably can attach these before rearranging them in the order that suits them best.
In addition, it is possible to connect up to two of the controllers together. You can even add a regular DualSense so the entire setup can be used as a single virtual controller. Then there is the software customization. Players have tons of button mapping options in the PS5 settings. Including mapping two functions to a single button in Project Leonardo for easy use.
To take it a step further, the controller also includes profiles. It can be tedious to set up your customizations only to have to do it again later. This is how Project Leonardo allows for profile storage after everything is initially set up. Players can then switch between profiles with the push of a button. So if they need a specific profile for a specific game, they don’t have to start from scratch and reconfigure everything.
It works with third-party accessibility devices and accessories
The name of the game is accessibility. Sony is trying to make gaming here as accessible as possible. To further support this, Project Leonardo is compatible with third-party accessible devices and accessories. These can be plugged into the 3.5mm aux ports on the side of the controller. Allows special equipment to be adapted for use with the configured setup. Sony hasn’t announced any pricing or availability information at this time. But it says it will continue to collect feedback.
Sony adds: “We would like to thank all of the wonderful organizations and accessibility experts who are supporting us in this effort. We’re also grateful to everyone in the community who has campaigned to make games more accessible. You are the reason we do our work and your passion inspires us every day. It is truly a privilege for us to develop products that better meet your needs. We look forward to sharing more in the future, including additional product features and launch timing.”