Sony redesigns PS5 controller for disabled gamers with customizable kit

At CES 2023, Sony unveiled a new PS5 controller kit for gamers with disabilities, but there are no availability or pricing details yet.

At CES 2023, Sony unveiled a new PS5 controller kit for gamers with disabilities. The PS5 ships with a bundled DualSense controller based on the DualShock 4, but with new features and enhanced ergonomics. Late last year, Sony also introduced the DualSense Edge controller for serious gamers, but it costs a whopping $200, compared to the $70 asking price for the original DualSense. Sony announced the PS5 in 2019 before commercializing it the following year. It competes with Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, which launched around the same time.

Dubbed "Project Leonardo", Sony's new PS5 controller is aimed at gamers with disabilities and comes with a range of accessibility options. Although it works out of the box in most cases, users can also configure it according to their needs. Like the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Project Leonardo also works with a number of third-party accessibility accessories and integrates with the PS5 console. Customization options include various control layouts, including the ability to swap out PS5 faceplates and trigger buttons. It also allows users to adjust the distance between the analog stick and the gamepad according to the player's preference.

Sony's 'Project Leonardo' PS5 Controller

Sony's new Project Leonardo controller also allows users to remap the buttons according to their needs. In some cases, multiple buttons can be mapped to the same function, and in other cases, two functions can be mapped to the same button. The device also allows gamers to store their programmed button settings as control profiles, then easily switch between them while playing a game. The system currently supports 3 control profiles, which can be accessed from the PlayStation console at any time.

As part of Sony's goal to make game controllers more customizable, the Project Leonardo can be used as a standalone controller or paired with other Project Leonardo controllers. It can also be used with DualSense wireless controllers. In total, three Sony controllers can be used together at any one time, including three Leonardos or two Leonardos and a DualSense.

Sony states that the new controller was created with input from accessibility experts and organizations such as AbleGamers and SpecialEffect, which work with gamers with disabilities to make video games more accessible. Another organization contributing to the device is Stack Up, which works to reduce veteran suicides.

According to Sony, Leonardo plans to Addresses many issues faced by players with limited motor control, including "difficulty holding the controller for long periods of time, accurately pressing small groups of buttons or triggers, or optimally positioning thumbs and fingers on standard controllers. It's unclear whether Project Leonardo is ready for primetime airing, as Sony hasn't revealed pricing and availability details. However, when it does come out, it will be interesting to see if it's priced well enough to make an impact.

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