It’s important for gaming, both as a hobby and an art form, to include as many people as possible under its umbrella. Most games are designed for able-bodied people, which often leaves those with physical impairments unable to enjoy the hobby as much as they should be able to. Now, however, an increasing number of games include extensive accessibility settings that allow users to tailor the experience to their liking, altering parameters and changing settings so that they can have a comfortable, enjoyable time while gaming.
That’s the major driving force behind Project Leonardo, a new controller announced during the CES presentation this year. If you’re not au fait with the event, CES stands for Consumer Electronics Show, and it’s where games companies and other tech firms showcase their latest and greatest inventions. Project Leonardo is intended to help level the playing field when it comes to gaming, and it’s been designed from the ground up to achieve that aim. Let’s take a look at what Project Leonardo is and what you can expect from it.
Price – how much will Project Leonardo cost?
Right now, Project Leonardo is in the early stages of its development, so we simply don’t know how much it’s going to cost. Don’t expect it to be cheap, though; the nearest comparable device would probably be the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which will set you back a fairly hefty £74.99, and we don’t expect Project Leonardo to be too much cheaper than that. Sony will probably announce a price for the device sometime down the road, so you’ll have to keep your eye out.
Release date – when is Project Leonardo coming out?
Again, we don’t actually know when Project Leonardo will arrive just yet. Sony says the controller is currently in development; indeed, Project Leonardo isn’t likely to be its final name, so we probably won’t get a release date at the very least until we know what the controller will actually be called. Expect it to launch much later in 2023; we’d be surprised if we saw it before autumn, but it’s difficult to call at this point, so keep your eye out for more news about that.
Features – what does Project Leonardo mean for accessibility?
Project Leonardo’s biggest selling point is its customisability; you can change the order of the buttons on the controller, all of which are swappable, allowing you to put them in whatever configuration you like. Let’s take a look at some of Project Leonardo’s most enticing features.
- “Highly customisable” buttons. The layout of Project Leonardo lets you change the button order in whatever way you like. Buttons can easily be reprogrammed, too, so you can essentially make the controller into whatever you want it to be.
- PS5 software compatibility. As you’d expect from a Sony controller, Project Leonardo will be fully compatible with PS5 software, which will let you remap buttons and save control profiles.
- Can be used with other controllers. You can pair two Project Leonardo controllers together if you like, giving you access to a wide array of different button combinations and configurations. Additionally, you can add Project Leonardo to an existing DualSense controller for a full array of control.
- Two 3.5mm ports. If you’ve got a favourite controller or addon that uses a 3.5mm port, then Project Leonardo has two such ports, allowing you to add a range of different modules and other devices that you can use. Of course, Project Leonardo will also allow you to program those buttons however you like.
- Flexible design. Of course, Project Leonardo can be positioned however you want. You can change where the analog sticks on the controller are; if you want them further away from each other, you can do that, and if you want them closer together, that’s within your power as well.
As you can see, the watchword with Project Leonardo is very much “customisation”; the idea is to let you change and adapt the controller however you want to in order to create the gaming experience that’s most comfortable for you. Sony’s designer So Morimoto says the company wanted to “address key challenges to effective controller use”, and that there isn’t a “right” way to use it. Instead, any configuration is completely valid depending on what you want to achieve with the controller.
What’s next for Project Leonardo?
Sony is likely hard at work developing Project Leonardo right now, so it’s likely we won’t hear much about it for a few months while the company perfects its design and makes sure everything works as it should. As such, we’ll probably get more news about Project Leonardo in spring, possibly including a release date and pricing for the controller. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long to get our hands on this one, because anything that can make gaming more accessible to a wider audience is a worthwhile endeavour in and of itself.
While you wait for Project Leonardo, you can explore the PS5’s range of accessibility features. The console lets you change lots of display and sound features, and it’s got a built-in screen reader so that you don’t miss anything. Make sure to take a look at the official Sony website to see a full rundown of everything the PS5 lets you do in accessibility terms, so that when Project Leonardo does arrive, you’ll be fully equipped to game however you want to game.