Published on January 26th, 2024 | by Andrew Paul
PlayStation Access Controller Review (NDIS)
While gaming is indeed mainstream, it can be a challenge for some gamers with a disability. Thankfully accessibility is becoming more inclusive towards those gamers with a disability and if you’re a PlayStation 5 (PS5) gamer or wanting to access this next-gen console, PlayStation may have the perfect controller for you – welcome to the PlayStation Access Controller.
Almost a year since the PlayStation Access Controller was announced, their highly anticipated “Project Leonardo”, the PlayStation Access Controller is now available and its design was made in collaboration with organizations who support people with a disability – in other words, this is a real-world and more importantly, usable device for the PS5 that can be used with one or two hands. The controller is also fully wireless, however you can use the included USB cable to charge or connect it to your PS5.
If you have a disability in Australia, you may be connected to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which supports accessibility and inclusion for all its participants in all aspects of life which does include gaming. This means they fund equipment such as the PlayStation Access Controller as it is an adaptive technology or assistive device, so if you have a great Support Coordinator or Occupational Therapist, they may be able to request this device to be funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency, the people responsive for delivering the scheme across Australia. This also includes attaching the PlayStation Access Controller to other devices to make your gaming more accessible and as we all know, there are a myriad of health benefits to gaming.
Accessibility is an important topic to us at PlayStation, and we want to continue raising the bar to enable every gamer to experience the joy of play. Whether it’s the robust accessibility options in PlayStation Studios games like Santa Monica Studio’s God of War Ragnarök or Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part I, or the wide array of features in our PS4 and PS5 console UI, we’re passionate about reducing barriers to play for every gamer.
– Hideaki Nishino Senior Vice President, Platform Experience, SIE
At its core, the PlayStation Access Controller is a highly customisable and configurable controller that has been designed to support gamers with limited motor control or holding a controller for long periods. Additionally the controller can be paired to another Access Controller and also other peripherals in order to fine-tune the gaming experience. For example, you might link the Access Controller to a DualSense Controller that would allow a friend or family member to support the gamer navigate their virtual worlds… or you might want additional control options so you could use the Access Controller and a DualSense Controller. Needless to say, you can really customise the layout of this controller to your needs and its feature some impressive button remapping capabilities as via the PlayStation 5, including saving controller profilers for different games. You can also map one button for two functions which is great for gamers looking to do combos… did someone say Tekken 8?
- Access Controller
- USB Cable
- 19 button caps
- 3 stick caps
- 23 button cap tags
- Printed material
Once you have put together your preferred design, it is actually quite a sturdy controller and the configuration of buttons is held in place well by magnets. Apart from button placement, you can also tweak the joystick. Unlike a traditional handheld controller, the PlayStation Access Controller is designed for a flat surface that also has rubber feet under it so it doesn’t slip when the gaming picks up. However you can still use the controller in your hands as well and it can be used from any 360° orientation.
Given that, the physical customisation options of this controller and while it has been designed for a flat surface, you can mount it on other devices such as a wheelchair tray or even tripods that really increases the scope of this accessible controller. There are also four 3.5mm AUX ports to connect third-party accessibility accessories. The only thing missing is vibration and haptic support. Also, it also doesn’t work with Remote Play that would have added another layer of additional scope for this device but nonetheless, as an initial controller, it is impressive.
Because players can customize Project Leonardo according to their needs, there is no one ‘right’ form factor. We want to empower them to create their own configurations. The controller can also flexibly accept combinations of accessibility accessories to create a unique aesthetic. I am excited that the design will be completed through collaboration with players rather than presenting them with a single form factor.
– So Morimoto, Designer, Sony Interactive Entertainment
Gamers will also be pleased that you can create over 30 gaming configurations on your PlayStation 5, including assigning three directly to the controller and adjusting this via the PS5 software is a relatively easy process. Changing profiles on the Access Controller is done through the profile button which is on the base of the joystick.
A highlight of the profiles is that most gaming genres will use a similar profile such as fighters (Mortal Kombat 1, Tekken 8) or adventure games (Horizon Forbidden West, Hogwarts Legacy), so you can duplicate your preferred profiles and then tweak to ensue best controls – this also helps with muscle memory.
You also need to tell the PS5 which way the PlayStation Access Controller which way it will face in order to maximise the configuration. And yes, it also feels like a fight stick so watch out Tekken 8!
The only thing missing is that you can’t have two thumbsticks or joysticks on one Access Controller which is where the second controller comes into play. Even so, PlayStation are off to a great start to gamers with a disability and with NDIS in Australia, hopefully we will see more gamers accessing one of the best next-consoles around.
As a straight out of the box solution for a person with a disability, the PlayStation Access Controller definitely delivers and given that disabilities are so diverse, PlayStation have consulted and listened which resulted in this very versatile gaming controller that can be used as a standalone device, with a DualSense controller or with another Access Controller. So if you’re struggling with gaming due to a disability or you are a participant of the NDIS, contact your support coordinator or occupational therapist now.
PlayStation Access Controller Specifications
|Approx. 141 x 39 x 191 mm
|Approx. 322 grams (0.7 lbs.)
|4 X 3.5mm AUX ports for players to connect additional buttons, specialty trigger switches and other compatible accessories
|8 Pillow button caps (attached to controller)
4 Flat button caps
4 Curve button caps
2 Overhang button caps
1 Wide flat button caps
Standard stick cap
Dome stick cap (attached to controller)
Ball stick cap
|Up to 9-hours
|$139AUD (Jan 2024)