Sony announces the accessibility-focused Leonardo Controller project for the PlayStation 5

At CES 2023, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced the new Project Leonardo Controller for PlayStation 5, a highly customizable accessibility controller.

The Project Leonardo Controller for PlayStation 5 was developed with key input from accessibility experts, community members and game developers. According to Sony, the controller features a highly customizable bundle that works “out of the box” to help disabled gamers enjoy the latest PlayStation games. In 2023, the company will also introduce the new DualSense Edge controller.

All the latest details on the Project Leonardo controller for PlayStation 5 are available via the PlayStation Blog below:

Accessibility is an important topic for us at PlayStation, and we want to continue to raise the bar so that every player can discover the joy of gaming. Whether it’s the robust accessibility options of PlayStation Studios games like Sony Santa Monica’s God of War Ragnarök or Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part I, or the extensive user interface features of our PS4 and PS5 consoles, we’re passionate about lowering barriers. play for each player.

Today at CES, we announced the next step in our journey to make gaming more accessible: Project Leonardo for PlayStation 5. Developed with key input from accessibility experts, community members, and game developers, Project Leonardo is our codename for a new, high-end game. customizable controller. A set that works “out of the box” to help many players with disabilities play easier, more comfortably and for longer.

Through conversations with accessibility experts and amazing organizations like AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, and Stack Up, we’ve developed a highly configurable controller that works in tandem with many third-party accessibility accessories and integrates with the PS5 console to open up new ways to play. It’s designed to solve common problems faced by many gamers with limited motor control, including difficulty holding the controller for long periods of time, accurately pressing small buttons or groups of triggers, or optimally positioning thumbs and fingers on a standard controller.

A highly customizable gaming experience

Material customizations. Project Leonardo for PS5 is a canvas for players to create their own gaming experiences. It features a robust set of interchangeable components, including a variety of analog stick caps and buttons in various shapes and sizes.

Players can use these components to create a wide range of control schemes. The distance between the analog stick and the gamepad can be adjusted according to the player’s preference. These components allow players to find a build that suits their specific strength, range of motion, and physical needs.

Software Customization. On the PS5 console, players have a number of options to customize their Project Leonardo gaming experience:

  • Button mapping
    • Controller buttons can be programmed to any supported function and multiple buttons can be mapped to the same function. Conversely, players can map two functions (such as “R2” + “L2”) to the same button.
  • Control Profiles
    • Players can save programmed button settings as control profiles and easily switch by pressing the profile button.
    • The player can save and retrieve three control profiles from the PS5 console at any time.
Works with other accessibility devices and accessories

Project Leonardo can be used as a standalone controller or paired with additional Project Leonardo 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 or play cooperatively with others to meet specific gaming needs.

For example, players can augment their DualSense controller with a Project Leonardo controller or use two Project Leonardo controllers. A friend or family member can also assist by helping control the player’s game character with a DualSense controller or a second Project Leonardo controller. Controllers can be dynamically enabled or disabled and used in any combination.

Project Leonardo can be expanded via four 3.5mm AUX ports to support various external switches and third-party accessibility accessories. This allows users to integrate custom switches, buttons or analog sticks into the Project Leonardo controller. External accessories can be dynamically connected or disconnected, and each can be configured to work like any other button.

Flexible and adaptable design

Project Leonardo’s split and symmetrical design allows players to place the analog sticks as close or as far apart as they like. The controller lies flat and doesn’t need to be held, so players can place it on a table or wheelchair tray. It can be easily attached to AMPS* rigs or tripods and rotates 360 degrees for more convenient use. Players can also program a “north” orientation on the thumbsticks to match their preferred controller orientation.

Sony Interactive Entertainment designer So Morimoto shares some of his thoughts on how his team approached industrial design for Project Leonardo:

“The Leonardo project is part of the PS5 product family and is based on the same design concept. We were inspired by the idea of ​​all gamers enjoying the PlayStation world together. Our team tested more than a dozen designs with accessibility experts, looking for approaches that would help solve key challenges for effective controller use. Ultimately, we settled on a “split controller” design that allows for almost free left/right thumb repositioning, can be used without the need to grip, and has very flexible swapping of buttons and stick caps. .

“As players can customize Project Leonardo to their needs, there is no ‘right’ form factor. We want to empower them to create their own settings. The controller can also flexibly accept combinations of accessibility accessories to create a unique aesthetic. I’m happy that the design was completed in collaboration with players rather than presenting a one-size-fits-all form factor.

– So Morimoto, Designer, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Look forward

The Leonardo project is currently in development and we continue to gather valuable feedback from the community. We would like to thank all the wonderful organizations and accessibility experts who have supported us in this effort.

We’re also grateful to everyone in the community who advocates for greater accessibility of games. You are the reason we do what we do and your passion inspires us every day. It is truly our privilege to create products that better meet your needs. We look forward to sharing more in the future, including additional product features and a release schedule.

*AMPS is an industry standard mounting screw pattern for attaching devices to equipment, including accessibility equipment.

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