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how sony develops customizable playstation controller for gamers with limited mobility

Sony access controller for gamers with limited mobility


On December 6th, Sony’s Access Controller, the device made for PlayStation and PS5 gamers with limited mobility, will hit the market. The Access Controller is highly customizable, in the sense that gamers with limited mobility can change the layout of the swappable buttons and stick caps in various shapes and designs, operate the controller from any 360-degree orientation given its floral shape, and even connect to third-party accessibility accessories using its four industry-standard 3.5mm expansion ports.

The gamers can also create up to 30 control profiles, adjust stick settings, toggle commands on/off, or disable buttons altogether to prevent accidental pressing. They can even pair up to two Access controllers and one DualSense wireless controller together and use them collaboratively. In a conversation between Sid Shuman – Senior Director, SIE Content Communications – and Alvin Daniel – Senior Technical Program Manager – for PlayStation, the duo delves into the design process of Sony’s Access Controller and how this highly customizable game-console controller for gamers with limited mobility came about.

sony access controller customizable
images and video stills by PlayStation



Design and development process of sony access controller


Alvin Daniel and the Sony Interactive Entertainment design team first looked at the census and medical data to try to check the most prevalent conditions of disabilities. Halfway through, they realized it was not an effective approach since no two people experience disability in exactly the same way, and disability could be dynamic, meaning that it could progress or regress over time. The new perspective shed light on the design team on what blind spots they were missing to devise a customizable controller that could cater to gamers with different needs.

From here, they worked with a community of differently-abled gamers to see what kind of gaming controller could work best for people with limited mobility. Three key partners were mentioned in the conversation between Alvin Daniel and Sid Shuman who helped shape the Sony Access Controller: AbleGamers, who are based in the US; Stack Up, a disabled military veterans organization; and SpecialEffect, who are based in the UK. The design development culminated in three key design features that could tackle the issue of accessibility for Sony’s Access Controller.


The design team eliminated the need to hold the controller to use it, made the buttons larger, organized in a single plane like a keyboard, and easier to press. They turned the thumbsticks movable so the gamers could either place them far apart or closer to each other or in different orientations or different levels so they could play the game comfortably and for a longer duration. The result comes through as a controller with configurable buttons, stick caps, and even profiles, and adjustable stick settings.

sony access controller customizable
meet Sony Access Controller, a customizable gaming device for gamers with limited mobility



packaging design that can be opened with one hand


Aside from making a customizable PlayStation and PS5 controller, Sony doubles down with an accessible packaging design, so gamers with limited mobility can open the box themselves and even do so with only one hand. The Access Controller’s box features loops that can be pulled from left to right, making it easier for gamers to unveil the accessories inside. Additional loops on the inside help them open the boxes and slide the controller out easily. The interior comes with other slots that organize the various kit components, including 19 interchangeable button caps and 3 stick caps, in a single layer so gamers can easily identify them and pull them out of the packaging.

Sony also introduced the Logitech G Adaptive Gaming Kit for the Access controller, which is its official accessory kit developed by Logitech in collaboration with our SIE team and the accessibility community. The kit offers supplementary buttons and triggers for the Access controller, including firm gaming mats with a hook and loop system, so players can lay out buttons and triggers. Velcro ties maximize mounting options, and custom stick-on labels of PS5 symbols help them easily mark the buttons and triggers. Sony expresses its excitement to unveil the kit alongside its Access Controller and is gearing up for its December 6th, 2023 launch. While waiting for its market availability, Sony has already put up its pre-order launch for the customizable Access controller.

sony access controller customizable
the buttons and stick caps in various shapes and designs are all swappable

sony access controller customizable
brief view on how customizable the controller is

sony access controller customizable
players can even pair up to two Access controllers and one wireless controller together and use them collaboratively


Sony Access Controller

sony access controller customizable
Sony Access Controller operates from any 360-degree orientation given its floral shape

sony access controller customizable
so far, there are 19 interchangeable button caps and 3 stick caps available

sony access controller customizable
the packaging design of Sony Access Controller can be opened with one hand


Sony Access Controller will hit the market on December 6th

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