CES 2023: Sony unveils new Project Leonardo accessibility controller kit for PS5
Project Leonardo, the PS5’s latest accessibility controller kit, was announced during the Sony Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023 presentation. The company shared at the event that it is working on a new controller, designed to help gamers with disabilities play “easily, more comfortably and for longer periods of time”. During the presentation, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan promised an out-of-the-box experience, delivering a robust kit of customizable parts and a range of software options on the PS5. It is developed with input from accessibility experts and organizations such as AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, and Stack Up. Currently, there is no release window or pricing details for the PS5 codenamed Project Leonardo.
According to the official PlayStation blog, Project Leonardo is designed to address common challenges faced by gamers with “limited motor control,” including difficulty holding a controller for long periods of time, finger positioning, and the inability to move. press small buttons with precision. This new kit places all of those buttons on two circular pads that lay 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 personal preference, with the package including a variety of analog stick caps (one with a grippy texture as well) and buttons in different shapes and sizes. In addition, one could also adjust the distance between the stick and the gamepad.
Similar to the PS5’s upcoming DualSense Edge controllers, Project Leonardo comes with button mapping functionality, including the ability to map multiple buttons to the same function. “Conversely, players can map two functions (like ‘R2’ + ‘L2’) to the same button,” he adds. Gamers can store 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 might require a lower camera sensitivity for more accuracy, while a third-person action game might not. So now you can just tap the profile button and trade on the go instead of heading to settings.
Project Leonardo can be used in pairs (as discussed earlier), standalone, or connected to a PS5 DualSense controller to expand your canvas and meet particular gaming needs. Its four 3.5mm AUX ports help expand functionality, allowing gamers to integrate external switches or third-party analog sticks, all of which can be dynamically connected/disconnected and button-mapped. “Because gamers can customize Project Leonardo to suit their needs, there’s no ‘right’ form factor. We want to empower them to create their own setups,” said So Morimoto, Designer, Sony Interactive Entertainment, in the blog post.
Sony’s proprietary games already dominate the video game accessibility space, offering a robust suite of options to help those who suffer from motor and visual issues. The Last of Us Part II and God of War Ragnarök were awarded in the “Accessibility Innovation” category at The Game Awards 2020 and 2022, respectively.
The Leonardo project is currently in development, with no word on a launch window or price.
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