Sony’s Leonardo project could make video games more accessible than ever.

Everyone should be able to enjoy video games, and Sony is working to make that happen with its accessibility control kit codenamed Project Leonardo.

The Project Leonardo controller was specifically created with accessibility in mind and features a revolutionary design that can be easily adapted to suit a wide variety of users.

With the Project Leonardo controller, Sony hopes to make video games more accessible than ever. Here’s how.

The Leonardo Project controller does not need to be held by hand.

One of the main accessibility features of the Project Leonardo controller is that you don’t have to hold it. The controller is fully modular and designed to sit on a flat surface. Typical controllers have handles that require a firm grip and a small group of buttons that are hard to manipulate.


Image credit: Sony/PlayStation

The Leonardo Project’s flat design eliminates this problem, completely eliminating the need for a firm grip or small, precise movements. The joystick can be stretched over the surface, with the parts brought closer or further apart as needed. If needed, individual pieces can also be attached to an AMPS stand or tripod for easier access.

The Leonardo Project controller relies on flexibility

The Leonardo Project controller is completely customizable, both physically and in terms of software. Each button and each section is a separate part of the whole which can be moved and repositioned freely as the user wishes.

This allows the controller to be a puzzle that each player can shape and mold to their liking. A fully customizable, modular design like this is truly revolutionary in the industry, even when it comes to accessibility controllers.


Project Leonardo controller in its different variants of use
Image credit: Sony/PlayStation

The controller also comes with various software accessibility features, such as the ability to reposition the north axis on the joystick and the ability to remap all buttons.

Button remapping is nothing new for gamepads, you’ve been able to customize Xbox Series X|S controllers, remap Nintendo Switch controllers, DualSense controllers, or even most other controllers for quite some time.

But when you combine those capabilities with the Leonardo Project controller’s physical customization options, it becomes clear how game-changing that can be.

Sony worked directly with accessibility experts to perfect the design.

Sony worked directly with organizations such as AbleGamers, SpecialEffect and Stack Up during the development of Project Leonardo to create the most accessible designs.

Sony’s main goal with Project Leonardo is to make games more inclusive. By taking advice from experts in the field of accessibility and leveraging the unique ideas of this organization, Sony was able to create a design that fully celebrates the uniqueness of everyone who uses the controller.


Sony Project Leonardo controller close up
Image credit: Sony/PlayStation

But Sony isn’t just looking for expert advice. When a company introduces a new project, it is usually near completion. The Leonardo Project Controller doesn’t even have a name yet.

Sony has been sharing its current progress with the public to gather more feedback and implement tweaks to make the final controller design more accessible.

Project Leonardo controller could set a precedent in the video game industry

Sony’s Leonardo Project controller isn’t just revolutionary in design. The company’s drive to make games more accessible to more people should set a precedent and inspire others to follow in its footsteps. This applies not only to big players in the gaming industry, such as Microsoft and Nintendo, but also to video game developers.

Accessibility features aren’t limited to adaptive controllers like Project Leonardo and Xbox Adaptive Controller. Features that make gaming easier for people that are present in the video games themselves can be intrinsic to making gaming experiences more inclusive.

Games like God of War: Ragnarök and The Last of Us Part I set big precedents for other game developers in this regard. With the release of more accessibility controllers designed for the next generation of consoles and improvements in in-game accessibility features, the gaming industry will be able to better appreciate the beauty of each different gamer, and move towards a more inclusive mentality in general.

Gaming hasn’t always been the most inclusive industry, and many people don’t have the opportunity to share this experience with loved ones due to hardware limitations.

The Project Leonardo controller is one more step in the right direction to change that and make the gaming industry more accessible than ever. Hopefully it’s only a matter of time before other companies follow suit and the idea of ​​a live accessibility checker is no longer revolutionary but an integral part of the gaming experience.

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