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Accessibility is an important topic for us at Play Station, and we want to keep raising the bar to enable every gamer to experience the joy of gaming. Be it the powerful accessibility options in PlayStation Studios games such as Sony Santa Monica God of War Ragnarok or obedient dog‘s The Last of Us Part Oneor a wide range of features on our site Playstation 4 and PlayStation 5 Console UI, we’re passionate about reducing barriers to play for every 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 contributions from accessibility experts, community members, and game developers, Project Leonardo is the codename for a new, highly customizable console suite that works “out of the box” to help many gamers with disabilities play games more easily, more comfortably, and for longer periods of time.
Through conversations with accessibility experts and great organizations like AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, and Stack Up, we’ve designed a highly configurable console that works alongside many third-party accessibility accessories and integrates with the PlayStation 5 controller to open up new ways to play. It was designed to address common challenges faced by many gamers with limited motor control, including difficulty holding a controller for long periods, accurately pressing small combinations of buttons or triggers, or optimally positioning thumbs and fingers on a standard controller.
Here are some key features:
Highly customizable gameplay expertise
Hardware customizations. Project Leonardo for PlayStation 5 is a canvas for gamers to craft their own gaming experience. It includes a robust set of interchangeable components, including a variety of analog stick caps and buttons of various shapes and sizes.
Players can use these components to craft a wide variety of control layouts. The distance of the analog stick from the gamepad can be adjusted to suit the player’s preference. These components allow players to find a composition that suits their strength, range of motion, and specific physical needs.
Software customizations. Players on the PlayStation 5 console have a range of options to customize their Project Leonardo gaming experience:
- Set the button
- The controller buttons can be programmed to any supported function and multiple buttons can be assigned to the same function. Conversely, players can assign two functions (such as “R2” + “L2”) to the same button.
- control profiles
- Players can store their programmed button settings as control profiles and easily switch between them by pressing the profile button.
- A player can store up to three control profiles and access them from their PlayStation 5 console at any time.
Works collaboratively with other devices and accessibility 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 a DualSense wireless controller can be used together as a single virtual controller, allowing players to mix and match devices to suit their gaming needs, or play cooperatively with others.
For example, players can augment their DualSense controller with a Project Leonardo controller or use two Project Leonardo controllers on their own. A friend or family member can also help by helping to control the player character with a DualSense controller or a second Project Leonardo controller. Controllers can be dynamically turned on or off and used in any combination.
Project Leonardo can be expanded with four 3.5mm AUX ports to support a variety of external adapters and third-party accessibility accessories. This allows users to integrate specialized switches, buttons or analog sticks with 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
The split symmetric design of Leonardo’s project allows players to change the position of the analog sticks so that they are as close together or as far apart as they like. The console lies flat and does not need to be held, so players can place it on a table top or wheelchair tray. It can be easily secured to AMPS* mounts or tripods, and can be oriented 360 degrees for the most comfortable use. Players can also program the “North” direction on the analog sticks to match their preferred controller orientation.
Sony Interactive Entertainment designer So Morimoto shares some insights into how his team approached industrial design for Project Leonardo:
“Project Leonardo is part of the PlayStation 5 family of products and is based on the same design concept. We were inspired by the idea of all players enjoying the PlayStation world together. Our team tested over a dozen designs with accessibility experts, looking for approaches that would help address key usability challenges We finally settled on a “split controller” design that allows for semi-free left/right thumbstick repositionability, can be used without having to hold it, and features very flexible switching of buttons and stick covers.
“Because players can customize Project Leonardo to their needs, there is no one ‘right’ form factor. We want to enable them to create their own configurations. The controller can also flexibly accept combinations of accessibility accessories to create a unique aesthetic. I’m excited that the design will be completed by Collaborating with players rather than presenting them in a single form factor.”
—So Morimoto, Designer, Sony Interactive Entertainment
I look forward
The Leonardo project is currently under development and we continue to collect valuable feedback from the community. We would like to thank all of the wonderful organizations and accessibility experts who support us in this effort.
We are also grateful to everyone in the community who has advocated for greater access to games. You are the reason we do our work and your passion inspires us every day. It is truly our honor to create products that best serve your needs. We look forward to sharing more in the future, including additional product features and launch timing.
Watch the announcement trailer below.
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