Sony releases its first accessible controller

“Our goal with Project Leonardo is to enable many more players to enjoy the remarkable games that PlayStation Studios and our development community are creating for PS5,” said Ryan. “Millions of gamers play games to escape from a fun experience, build new friendships or hang out together. The ability to make gaming accessible to more players is something we are all incredibly passionate about at SIE.”

The partnership between people with disabilities and PlayStation is also an indication of the industry’s commitment to promoting accessibility. Project Leonardo shares similarities with Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller. On Xbox and Windows systems, players can activate a feature called Copilot, which allows them to connect two controllers that act as one device. For physically challenged players who struggle to reach certain inputs or even press specific buttons, the ability to choose is crucial. In a press release, a Sony Interactive Entertainment spokesperson explained the mechanics behind the PlayStation version of Copilot:

Project Leonardo” can be used as a stand-alone controller or in conjunction with additional Project Leonardos or DualSense wireless controllers. Up to two Project Leonardo controllers and one DualSense wireless controller can be used together as a single virtual controller, allowing players to mix and match devices to suit their specific gameplay needs or to play together with others. For example, players can expand their DualSense controller with a Project Leonardo controller or use two Project Leonardo controllers alone. A friend or family member can also help by controlling the player’s game character with a DualSense controller or a second Project Leonardo controller. The controllers can be switched on or off dynamically and used in any combination.”

Aside from the ability to use more than one of the new controllers, the new device can also interface with third-party external buttons and switches to improve overall accessibility. Sony hasn’t said if Project Leonardo will be compatible with the Logitech Adaptive Kit or what PC interoperability there will be, or even if Project Leonardo will be the final name of the device when it hits the market. But more alternatives mean physically challenged players won’t be restricted in their settings. And, as Jim Ryan points out, that’s the goal.

Thanks to Sony

With more games, and now consoles, open to all gamers, including those with disabilities, players can discover and experience the same pop culture defining moments that games continue to create. Project Leonardo is just one tool in an ever-expanding arsenal of accessibility. But for physically challenged people who can’t use a PS5, this controller will bridge the gap.

“Our mission is to use technology and innovation to make gaming more accessible to everyone,” says Ryan. “We are building a future where players of all skill levels can share in the joy of gaming. Whether it’s in-game accessibility settings, platform UI features, or new products like Project Leonardo, our PlayStation Studios and product development teams are passionate about making it happen. We hope that the gaming industry will become even more inclusive, and we are grateful to be able to play a part in this journey.”

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