Sony has revealed its plans for a more accessible PS5 controller, similar to the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The tech titan appears to have stolen Microsoft’s notion of an accessibility-focused controller and incorporated it into a new input method for the PS5.
The gaming accessibility movement has gained traction in recent years, led by organisations such as The AbleGamers Charity and SpecialEffect, who seek to enable impaired gamers enjoy their favourite hobby.
Microsoft launched the Xbox Adaptive Controller in 2018, which enables for the introduction of additional control options and third-party input peripherals for gamers who have difficulties using conventionally designed controllers. This was a significant move by Microsoft, highlighting the efforts of these campaigners and encouraging other console manufacturers to make their own excursions into first-party controllers centred on accessibility.
Many people have been waiting for Sony, Microsoft’s main competitor in the console business, to make more efforts toward accessible controllers in the four years since the release of the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan revealed Project Leonardo for PS5, a configurable controller kit created in collaboration with accessibility specialists and groups such as The AbleGamers Charity, SpecialEffect, and Stack Up, during a press conference at CES 2023.
According to a post on the PlayStation blog, Project Leonardo will have button mapping options, different controller profiles, and compatibility with third-party peripherals, all while still working “out of the box.” It will be able to be used alone or in conjunction with another Project Leonardo controller and DualSense controller that “can be used together as a single virtual controller.” Third-party accessories will be connectable via four 3.5mm AUX ports on the device’s bottom, similar to the ports on the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
One notable feature of Project Leonardo is how extremely configurable it is, since players may vary the distance between the analogue stick and the rest of the controller. It is evident that Sony remains committed to making its software and hardware accessible to as many players as possible following its efforts to include accessibility in God of War Ragnarok and The Last of Us Part 1.
Project Leonardo is Sony or Nintendo’s first big advancement in hardware accessibility since the Xbox Adaptive Controller. Although former Nintendo executive Reggie Fils-Aime indicated that Nintendo has intentions to create its own version of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, this has yet to happen. Sony is reiterating the significance of accessibility in the gaming industry with this news, and organisations and advocates deserve credit for their work in bringing these concerns to light.
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