Disability: PlayStation presents a controller to make the game more accessible – Le Journal de Montréal

Large buttons arranged in a circle and a joystick on one side: Sony will be bringing a new PlayStation controller onto the market in December that is intended to make it easier for people with a disability that has long been neglected in the industry to play.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if healthy people were using it,” says Jeremy Lecerf, known as Gyzmo. The wheelchair-bound French video gaming and disability specialist was invited to London by Sony to test this new device that turns the design of traditional controllers on its head.

The player, who suffers from myopathy, is an ambassador for the French association HandiGamer, which represents players with disabilities.


The new controller is “extremely well thought out” because he says the company has tried to make it accessible to people with disabilities, which can vary widely.

“It’s nice to see that the (video game) industry is really getting going,” says Mr. Lecerf, 39, about the issue of accessibility while testing the “Access” controller on Stray, an adventure video game that the player plays a cat. “More and more publishers are playing the game,” he says.

According to a 2021 report by Scope, the UK’s Disability Equality Association, two-thirds of gamers with disabilities face barriers or problems while playing, and 40% have purchased video games that they were unable to use due to poor accessibility.

Disability: PlayStation presents a controller to make the game more accessible


But the issue of accessibility is now being highlighted by major studios, publishers and manufacturers.

According to Jeremy Lecerf, an essential effort. “Video games gave me a life that was close to normal, a social life,” he says. It is an “opening to the world”.

Addressing accessibility issues “is a trend we’re seeing across the industry, it’s not just limited to PlayStation,” agrees Alvin Daniel, project manager at Sony.

“We didn’t want the player to adapt to the controller, we wanted the controller to adapt to the player,” he says. However, this is not an easy task, “because no two people experience a disability in exactly the same way.”

Free of play for 15 years

The new device can be placed on a table or attached to a surface and oriented in all directions.

Each key can change shape with magnetic caps to make it easier to press or grip, and the user can assign any function to them. You can combine multiple controllers, “Access” or classic.

The controller is “a bit big and the buttons are hard to press,” but “you can attach external buttons to it, which is a good thing for me,” says Melanie Eilert, a German “gamer” who also works as a consultant. in accessibility and suffers from spinal muscular atrophy.

Disability: PlayStation presents a controller to make the game more accessible


Ms. Eilert, who can only play with her right hand, brought her own colored buttons – there are many peripherals on the market developed by third-party manufacturers, adapted to the players’ disabilities, some operated by a movement of the mouth or by breathing, for example.

In their opinion, there is no perspective to compare the new PlayStation controller with its competitor that Microsoft launched five years ago on the Xbox – which also allows the connection of external devices.

But the development of such a device is crucial for them. “I played when I was a child. Then (due to the progression of the disease) I was unable to do so for 15 years. “I had to wait a long time before I could start again, thanks to the development of suitable solutions,” she says.

At Sony, the project started in 2018 and development took time “because we were given a blank sheet of paper,” says Alvin Daniel. With the help of associations and experts, various designs were tested on three continents before the finished product was created.

The controller will be available in Europe on December 6th for a recommended retail price of 89.99 euros.