As part of its CES 2023 presentation, Sony PlayStation unveiled its major effort into the accessibility space, the controller, Project Leonardo. Building on the accessibility efforts that are becoming more and more commonplace within its games, PlayStation is developing and continuing to improve this device, but has now given us a first look at it in action.
By working with accessibility experts and organisations such as AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, and Stack Up, Sony has created a device that is made to be a "highly configurable controller that works in tandem with many third-party accessibility accessories and integrates with the PS5 console to open up new ways of gaming."
It's been fundamentally designed to help those with limited motor control and those who struggle to hold a controller for extended periods of time to press buttons and pull triggers, and to position thumbs and fingers accurately.
Project Leonardo will feature customisable hardware configurations and swappable components to allow each user to tailor the controller to their needs, and will also have software configuration support to incorporate button mapping and control profiles. It will also work collaboratively with other PlayStation devices, meaning you can combine Project Leonardo with a DualSense controller if you desire.
Speaking about the device, Sony Interactive Entertainment designer, So Morimoto stated, "We were inspired by the idea of all players enjoying the world of PlayStation together. Our team tested over a dozen designs with accessibility experts, looking for approaches that would help address key challenges to effective controller use," before adding, "because players can customise Project Leonardo according to their needs, there is no one 'right' form factor. We want to empower them to create their own configurations."
There is currently no release date for Project Leonardo, but we are told that Sony will continue to develop the controller with community feedback in mind.