Sony Making Its Products More Accessible For the Disabled

Sony is developing an accessible controller, currently referred to as Project Leonardo, so that more gamers with every ability can play.

By Trista Sobeck | Updated


When it comes to gameplay of any kind, kids of all abilities should be able to take part in it. Video games can teach important lessons. Unfortunately, Sony has fallen behind its rival Microsoft so the PlayStation wasn’t as friendly as the XBOX for kids and adults who need some accessories to assist them with the controllers and help them with accessibility. 

According to TechCrunch, Sony is looking to make up some lost ground (and time) with a new controller that will help children with disabilities use a controller to play. The new controller, which is still in the early stages–so early that no one has photos of it–is a type of pod where switches and buttons surround a hub. Sony is developing the new controllers with many advocacy groups, diversity experts, and of course, actual players. 

Project Leonardo, or so the endeavor to create new controllers is called, is created with nothing but complete accessibility in mind and the foresight to use other tools to help play the game. Adaptors such as breathing tubes, pedals, and switches can be used to activate the buttons. 

The new accessible controllers are based closely on Microsoft’s XBOX adaptive controller, where some features are built-in and some the player can provide themselves. The point is that every player is unique, just as every disability is. There is no one “right away” to use,  just best practices to follow. 

These controllers are compatible with this Christmas’s hottest gift–the PlayStation 5, which was all but sold out in most stores prior to Christmas 2022. This should tell us just how successful these new controllers will be. 

Another goal to keep in mind with these accessibility controllers is not just the ability to play the games but the ability to play them longer. Sometimes an able person’s controller may be able to be used, but it could be so uncomfortable gameplay is less than it could be. The controllers address common challenges like motor control issues which would make some movements that require accuracy extremely tough. 

What’s more, the extremely customized features of Project Leonardo make it so incredibly exciting. One Project Leonardo accessibility controller can be hooked up to another one, along with a wireless controller. This can then act as one big controller.

Sony says the adaptability, accessibility, and flexible design were inspired by the desire for all people of all abilities to play video games and enjoy themselves. The company went out to explain that there really is no “right” factor is using the controllers. The goal was to empower the users to do what feels right and best for them. In addition, the controllers also create a unique aesthetic. 

Everyone loves video games and the industry is only growing in leaps and bounds as new technology is developed. Whether we want to improve the speed, the style, or the size, we want to play no matter who we are. In fact, some kinds are using a special workaround website to play games while they are in the classroom.