It’s shocking it took PlayStation this long to add an accessibility controller. X-Box has had one for almost a half-decade. Nevertheless, Sony announced their effort in this space at CES 2023. They are dubbing the controller “Project Leonardo.”
“Designed from the ground up” was the big pitch in the project video and developed over several years. The device itself is a customizable circle of buttons with an offshoot joystick that seems to be changeable. The buttons on the circle themselves are changeable for different shapes and labels. The whole device lays flat.
So Morimoto, Sony’s Interactive Entertainment designer, stated, “We were inspired by the idea of all players enjoying the world of PlayStation together. 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 free-form left/right thumbstick repositionability, can be used without needing to be held, and features very flexible button and stick cap swapping.
"Because players can [customize] Project Leonardo according to their needs, there is no one 'right' form factor. We want to empower them to create their own configurations. The controller can also flexibly accept combinations of accessibility accessories to create a unique aesthetic. I am excited that the design will be completed through collaboration with players rather than presenting them with a single form factor."
Despite showing a device, and talking about it as if it is available, it is not available at the moment. Perhaps someday soon. With all the money they collect, why is it taking so long? It’s simply a controller in a different shape. It’s a great space in desperate need of products. Ripe for anyone to contribute.
Anyway, back to Sony… A seemingly good device, on the way. Let’s hope it not more years away.
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