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CES 2023: Sony unveils new Project Leonardo Accessibility Controller Kit for PS5

Project Leonardo, the latest PS5 accessibility controller kit, has been announced at Sony’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023 presentation. The company shared at the event that it was working on a new controller designed to help players with disabilities play “easier, more comfortably and for longer periods.” During the presentation, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan promised an out-of-the-box experience, with a robust set of customizable parts and a range of software options on the PS5. It is being developed with contributions from accessibility experts and organizations such as AbleGamers, SpecialEffect and Stack Up. Currently, there is no release window or pricing information for PS5’s codename Project Leonardo.

According to the official PlayStation blog post, Project Leonardo was built to address common challenges faced by players with “limited motor control”, including difficulty holding a controller for extended periods of time, finger positioning, and not being able to accurately press small buttons. This new kit places all those buttons on two circular pads that lie flat – one representing each half of a standard PS5 DualSense controller, with an expanded area of ​​pressure points. Sony describes the controller kit as a “canvas for gamers” as it’s fully customizable to suit personal preferences, with the package including a variety of analog stick caps (one of which also comes with grippy texture) and buttons of various shapes and sizes. Furthermore, one could also adjust the distance from the stick to the gamepad.

As with the PS5’s upcoming DualSense Edge controllers, Project Leonardo comes with a button mapping feature, including the ability to map multiple buttons to the same function. “Conversely, players can assign two functions (such as ‘R2’ + ‘L2’) to the same button,” it adds. Players can save their programmed button settings as profiles – up to three can be saved – for easy selection when switching between game types. For example, a first-person shooter may require lower camera sensitivity for accuracy, unlike a third-person action game. So now you can just hit the profile button and switch on the go instead of going into settings.

Project Leonardo can be used in pairs (as mentioned earlier), standalone, or connected to a PS5 DualSense controller to expand your canvas and meet specific gaming needs. The four 3.5mm AUX ports help expand functionality, allowing players to integrate external switches or third-party analog sticks – all of which can be connected/disconnected dynamically and buttons assigned. “Because players can tailor Project Leonardo to their needs, there is no one ‘right’ form factor. We want to empower them to create their own configurations,” said Morimoto, Designer, Sony Interactive Entertainment, in the blog post.

Sony’s first-party games already dominate the video game accessibility space, offering a robust range of options to help people with motor and visual difficulties. Both The Last of Us Part II and God of War Ragnarök were honored in the ‘Innovation in Accessibility’ category at The Game Awards 2020 and 2022 respectively.

Project Leonardo is currently in development, with no word on a launch window or pricing.

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