The gaming accessibility movement has gained traction in recent years, led by organizations such as The AbleGamers Charity and SpecialEffect, which work to help disabled gamers enjoy their favorite pastime. A major step in this movement came in 2018 when Microsoft released the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which allows for the implementation of various control options and third-party input accessories for gamers who find it difficult to use traditionally designed controllers. It was a big step by Microsoft, shining a light on the efforts of these advocates and encouraging other console manufacturers to make their own initiatives into custom controllers built around accessibility.
We also note competition from independent creators who offer controllers adapted to different forms of disability through associations such as HandiGamers. A great initiative that will interest console manufacturers and make video games accessible to everyone in all media.
This year @Handigamers accompanied by its new supervisor, Jules, sends you its best wishes for 2023 #nintendoswitch and his smile!
Have fun and play all year long, that’s all we wish you.
To follow Jules’ adventures: https://t.co/OKOMm8nICS pic.twitter.com/uoCIlk58DW
— HANDIGAMERS.COM (@Handigamers) January 4, 2023
Sony enters the race for adaptive controllers
In the four years since the release of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, many have been waiting to see how Sony, Microsoft’s biggest competitor in the console market, will make further progress with accessible controllers. Gamers finally got their answer at Sony’s CES 2023 press conference, where Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan revealed Project Leonardo for PS5, accessibility experts and The AbleGamers Charity, SpecialEffect, SpecialEffect, and Stack.
A PlayStation Blog post explains that “Project Leonardo” will include options for button mapping, multiple controller profiles, and compatibility with third-party accessories while still working “out of the box.” It can be used alone or with another Project Leonardo controller and a DualSense controller that “can be used together as a virtual controller.” Third-party accessories will be able to connect via the four 3.5mm AUX ports on the bottom of the device, similar in design to the ports on the Xbox Adaptive Controller. What’s particularly notable about Project Leonardo is its high configuration, as players can do things like adjust the distance of the analog stick from the rest of the God of War Ragnarok and The Last of Us Part 1 gamepad, which Sony is still determined to continue creating. its software and hardware are accessible to as many players as possible.
Project Leonardo represents the first major development in hardware accessibility developed by Sony or Nintendo since the Xbox Adaptive Controller. Although former Nintendo boss Reggie Fils-Aime claimed that there were once plans for Nintendo to develop its own version of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, this has yet to happen. With this announcement, Sony reaffirms the importance of accessibility in the gaming industry, and organizations and advocates are to be commended for their work in putting these issues on the map.