Sony announces a “highly customizable” PlayStation controller kit

More accessibility is always a good thing.

2 mins read
A photograph of Project Leonardo.

Microsoft’s accessible control options have been available for years now; while compatible with other companies’ devices, it’s never quite the same is it? Enter Sony, with its new highly customizable controller kit that is “designed to remove barriers to gaming and help players with disability play more easily, more comfortably, and for longer periods.” It will be compatible with PlayStation 5, and is unfortunately (but understandably) not compatible with previous generations of PlayStation consoles.

PlayStation has focused on accessibility before, but generally only in-game with its first-party titles such as God of War Ragnarok. There are some console UI options as well, but let’s be real: there’s only so much the company can do without hardware. Enter Project Leonardo. While likely not its final name, that is the codename for the kit. It is designed to work out of the box with little setup.

It’s been designed with help from accessibility experts, including some phenomenal companies including AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, and Stack Up. The kit also works together with other third-party accessories. It is made to address common challenges for players with limited motor control, like difficulty holding a controller for long periods (that’s me!), accurately pressing buttons or triggers, or positioning fingers on a standard controller.

Project Leonardo is described as “a canvas for gamers to craft their own experience.” The kit includes swappable components; for example, there are different choices for analog stick caps and buttons are available in different shapes and sizes. Players can craft their own control layouts, including the distance of the analog stick from the game pad.

PlayStation 5 players have lots of options to further tailor their experience, including button mapping and control profiles. With button mapping, the controller’s buttons can be programmed to any supported function. They can even map two functions onto the same button! With control profiles, players can store their settings to easily switch between profiles; up to three profiles can be stored.

For more information, check out this super-detailed PlayStation Blog post. It includes information on how the controller kit plays nice with other devices, which goes way over my head so it’s best to check it out first-hand.

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Lindsay picked up an NES controller for the first time at the age of 6 and instantly fell in love. She began reviewing GBA games 20 years ago and quickly branched out from her Nintendo comfort zone. She has has developed a great love of life sims and FMV titles. For her, accessibility is one of the most important parts of any game (but she also really appreciates good UI).

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