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Listen up all you gamers! PlayStation’s new adaptive controller will soon be here!
Recently, we reported on the many reasons why gaming is awesome. For example, gaming helps players to build cognitive and educational skills; provides opportunities for social interaction; offers multisensory stimulation and much more.
In recent years, gaming has become increasingly accessible for individuals with mobility challenges. Earlier this month, PlayStation announced that Project Leonardo, a highly customizable accessible controller kit designed for physically disabled players, is finally in the works. Following its release, the kit will be compatible with PlayStation 5.
According to the PlayStation blog, the new kit is “designed to remove barriers to gaming and help players with disabilities play more easily, more comfortably and for longer periods on PS5.”
To be fair, accessibility isn’t an entirely new concept for PlayStation. Many of the company’s games including mega favorites “God of War Ragnarök” and “The Last of Us Part I,” offer lots of accessibility features. But until now, PlayStation’s hardware wasn’t nearly as accommodating for users with mobility challenges. In fact, Microsoft Xbox was way ahead of its competitor, offering an adaptive controller since 2018.
To ensure that Project Leonardo was truly accessible, PlayStation consulted with accessibility experts, community members, and game developers including AbleGamers, SpecialEffect and Stack Up. The result is a controller that enables players with mobility challenges to create an individualized and enjoyable gaming experience.
Project Leonardo’s unique split design is an important difference when it comes to making the controller accessible. As Sony Interactive Entertainment designer So Morimoto told Wired magazine, “Our team tested over a dozen designs with accessibility experts, looking for approaches that would help address key challenges to effective controller use. We finally settled on a split controller design that allows near freeform left/right thumbstick repositioning, can be used without needing to be held, and features very flexible button and stick cap swapping. Because players can customize it according to their needs, there is no one ‘right’ form factor. We want to empower them to create their own configurations.”
Another benefit to Project Leonardo’s design is that it can be used with a “variety of external switches and third-party accessibility accessories.”
So far, there’s no release date or price point listed for Project Leonardo. Stay tuned for more details!