Inclusion Unlocked: Sony Revolutionizes Gaming with Accessible PlayStation Controller


Sony has released a new PlayStation controller with innovative accessibility features designed to empower disabled gamers. The controller, called Access, was developed in collaboration with disabled gamers like Paul Lane and Cesar Flores, who faced challenges playing video games due to their disabilities.

For Lane, who lost the use of his fingers in a vehicle accident, playing video games meant using his toes to control the game. This can be extremely difficult and limits the gaming experience for individuals with mobility impairments. Sony recognized this issue and worked with Lane and other accessibility consultants to create the Access controller, aiming to make gaming more inclusive for the disabled community.

The Access controller is a round, flexible device that offers various setup options depending on the user’s preferences. It can be placed on a tabletop or a rolling cart’s bandeja, allowing for customization and adaptability. The buttons and joysticks can be swapped, controls can be personalized, and two separate controls can be combined into a single interface. Furthermore, the Access controller comes ready to use out of the box, making it convenient for gamers with disabilities.

Working on the development of the Access controller since 2018, Lane and other players collaborated with Sony to create a controller that could be adjusted to accommodate a wide range of disabilities. Mark Barlet, founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization AbleGamers, highlighted the importance of considering the specific needs and skills of players, rather than merely focusing on their disabilities. This approach ensures that the gaming experience is tailored to each individual, enabling them to bridge the gap between the game and the control scheme.

Barlet’s organization has been advocating for disabled gamers for over two decades, providing assistance to companies like Sony and Microsoft in developing accessible controls. Through social media platforms, disabled gamers can now connect with a wider audience and communicate their needs and challenges to game developers more effectively.

Microsoft, in particular, expressed appreciation for the positive response to its Xbox Adaptive controller, which was released in 2018 and aimed to include more players in accessible gaming. The Access controller by Sony follows a similar approach, affirming the industry’s commitment to improving accessibility for all gamers.

The Access controller will be available for purchase worldwide on December 6th, priced at 90 USD (approximately 450 R$). Its design focuses on three key principles: flexibility in setup options, simplified button pressing, and adaptable levers. These features ensure that the controller can be used by individuals with varying levels of dexterity and force, making it suitable for not only disabled gamers but also elderly gamers with mobility impairments like arthritis.

For players like Lane, video games have had a profound impact on their lives. Lane, who had to take a break from competitive gaming for seven years after his accident, found solace in playing video games. The social effects of gaming helped improve his disposition and combat the social isolation that often accompanies disabilities.

The release of the Access controller is a significant step towards inclusivity in the gaming industry. It enables disabled gamers to continue enjoying the games they love and reconnect with a community that understands and supports them. Sony’s commitment to accessibility showcases its dedication to creating an inclusive gaming environment for all players, regardless of their physical abilities.