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The Sony PlayStation Access Controller: A game changer (literally, but not literally)

Today is an exciting day, as after 5 years of research and testing, Sony have released their PlayStation 5 Access Controller, designed to make gaming accessible for everyone. This development will change the game for gamers with disabilities across the world, but without having to change any of the actual games to get there.

Under the name ‘Project Leonardo’, the Access controller has been an ongoing project with input from accessibility experts, community members, and game developers to nail this product. They truly took the initiative of ‘nothing about us, without us’ when creating this and involved numerous gamers with disabilities in the conversations about what is needed to make this product great.

What was wrong with the standard controller?

While the standard PlayStation controller may give players without disabilities a little thumb ache if used for too long, this might just be because you’re a little too invested in your Super Mario Bros race.

When you have a disability that affects your dexterity and fine motor skills, applying small and fast movements with a single finger can be impossible. For those where it is possible, keeping your hand in the same position for an extended period can also come with its challenges. This unfortunately leaves gamers with disabilities two options: play games which are wildly below their maturity level so the movements in the game are more accessible, or turn the console off as gaming is not designed for their needs.

During their research phase, gamers with disabilities commonly sighted limited motor control, difficulty holding the controller for long periods of time, difficulty pressing small buttons and triggers, as well as difficulty positioning fingers in the correct position as barriers to play.

So how is the Access controller different?

The Access controller has been designed to work alongside many third-party accessibility accessories, opening up a new way of gaming.

It is a highly customisable piece of kit, with components that can be swapped for different shapes and sizes to fit the users needs. Players can tailor the layout of their controller to fit with their strength, range of motion, and other physical needs. It is really clear that Sony aimed to make a controller that adapts to the needs of the gamer, rather than a controller that requires the player to adapt to the needs of it.

As technology is advancing, it is refreshing to see games companies viewing people with disabilities as the same customer, just with different needs to access the same game. The new access controller is potentially groundbreaking to many Playstation 5 players. Check out their video to hear some stories from real people with disabilities that collaborated with Sony to make this product a reality:

We even love the packaging!

If we weren’t impressed by the controller itself and everything that has been done to make this piece of equipment accessible, even the packaging is amazing. It has been designed so it can be opened with only one hand, making the unboxing process super fun and inclusive for everyone too.

Overall, this controller is nothing short of impressive, and gives many gamers access to entertainment that was not possible previously. Its array of components and customisable elements make game playing more accessible than ever to the disabled gaming community and we are so excited to see what comes next in the accessible gaming space.

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