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In a groundbreaking move set for December 6th, Sony is set to revolutionize the gaming world with the release of the Access Controller, a remarkable device meticulously crafted for PlayStation and PS5 gamers grappling with limited mobility. This visionary creation offers unprecedented levels of customization, providing gamers the ability to tailor the layout of swappable buttons and stick caps to suit their unique needs. The controller’s distinctive floral shape allows for usage in any 360-degree orientation, while four industry-standard 3.5mm expansion ports open the door to third-party accessibility accessories.
What sets the Access Controller apart is its capacity to generate up to 30 distinct control profiles. Gamers can fine-tune stick settings, enable or disable commands, or even deactivate buttons to avert inadvertent activations. Furthermore, the device supports the synchronization of two Access controllers and one DualSense wireless controller for collaborative gaming experiences. To gain insights into the creative journey behind Sony’s Access Controller and its adaptability to diverse needs, Sid Shuman, Senior Director of SIE Content Communications, engaged in a captivating conversation with Alvin Daniel, Senior Technical Program Manager for PlayStation.
The Evolution of Sony’s Access Controller: From Data to Diversity
Alvin Daniel and the design team at Sony Interactive Entertainment embarked on a path of innovation by examining census and medical data to identify the most prevalent disabilities. Midway through this journey, they realized the limitations of such an approach. Disabilities are uniquely experienced by each individual, and they can evolve over time. This realization was pivotal, shedding light on the need to develop a customizable controller that could accommodate gamers with a wide array of needs.
To achieve this, Sony collaborated with a community of differently-abled gamers, who played an instrumental role in shaping the Access Controller. Three key partners featured prominently in this collaboration: AbleGamers in the US, Stack Up, a disabled military veterans organization, and SpecialEffect in the UK. This collective effort culminated in three groundbreaking design features that address accessibility concerns in Sony’s Access Controller.
- The controller design eliminates the necessity to hold it, rendering the buttons larger and arranged in a single plane reminiscent of a keyboard for easy activation.
- The thumbsticks are made movable, allowing gamers to position them as per their preference – far apart, close together, or in varying orientations – ensuring comfort during extended gameplay sessions.
- The result is a controller with a flexible button layout, swappable stick caps, customizable profiles, and adjustable stick settings, offering unparalleled adaptability for gamers with limited mobility.
A Revolution Beyond the Controller: Accessible Packaging Design
In a gesture of unwavering commitment to inclusivity, Sony extended its accessibility focus to the packaging of the Access Controller. The packaging is engineered for easy, one-handed opening, ensuring that gamers with limited mobility can independently unbox their device. Loops on the packaging exterior, designed for left-to-right pulling, simplify the unboxing process. Inside the box, additional loops assist in opening various compartments and removing the controller effortlessly. The interior is ingeniously designed to organize the components in a single layer, allowing gamers to identify and extract the 19 interchangeable button caps and 3 stick caps with ease.
They also introduces the Logitech G Adaptive Gaming Kit for the Access Controller, an official accessory kit developed in collaboration with Logitech and the accessibility community. This kit enhances the controller’s functionality with supplementary buttons and triggers, firm gaming mats utilizing a hook and loop system, and Velcro ties for maximum mounting options. Custom stick-on labels featuring PS5 symbols make it simple for players to mark buttons and triggers to suit their preferences.
Sony’s enthusiasm for the upcoming December 6th, 2023 launch of the Access Controller and the Logitech G Adaptive Gaming Kit is palpable. The company has already initiated pre-order availability, signaling its commitment to making the gaming world a more inclusive space for all. With these innovations, Sony’s Access Controller is poised to be a game-changer in the gaming industry, heralding a new era of accessibility and inclusivity.
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