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Sony’s PlayStation Access Controller: A Quick Guide

Eric Elliot

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Home » Technology » Sony’s PlayStation Access Controller: A Quick Guide

Sony recently announced an accessible controller catered directly to gamers with disabilities. The aptly named “Access Controller” features swappable, customizable parts and buttons requiring minimal force to engage. This enables an inclusive play experience for those unable to use standard controllers.

Gaming serves a pivotal social role for people with disabilities. But the industry historically lacked accommodating equipment, forcing disabled gamers to engineer their own setups. Recognizing accessibility shortcomings, Sony now offers the Access Controller to meet diverse needs.

Overview of the Access Controller

The Access Controller aims to enable immersive, comfortable gameplay for gamers with limited mobility. Key traits make it distinct from a standard DualSense controller.

You can easily swap out various button caps and analog stick tops to find the ideal shape and size for your hands and dexterity. Buttons can be pressed with minimal force, an important adaptation for muscle issues. And the device remains stationary, so you needn’t grip or fasten anything to play.

Altogether, these traits allow the controller to conform to you rather than the reverse. Sony constructed the device specifically to serve disabled gamers often alienated from traditional accessories.

The Need for an Accessible Controller

For those with disabilities, gaming fosters community and combats isolation. Paul Amadeus Lane, an accessibility consultant with spinal muscular atrophy, notes gaming’s impact. “It was my social lifeline outside of school,” Lane says.

But conventional controllers require moderate dexterity and strength, erecting barriers. Gamers with disabilities thus created specialized, homemade rigs to play.

Sony aims to eliminate this forced DIY approach with the Access Controller. The device directly accounts for diverse accessibility needs still overlooked across the industry.

Main Accessibility Features

The Access Controller tailored its hardware and buttons for limited mobility gamers through three key features:

Customizable Parts

The controller offers easily interchangeable stick tops and button caps. You can attach large, textured caps to improve grip, for instance. Or leverage concave caps providing more responsive tactile feedback. Such simple modifications grant you an ergonomic, personalized fit.

Low-Force Buttons

Buttons only need gentle presses thanks to specialized sensors requiring shorter activation travel. Minimizing button resistance allows those with limited motor skills, weakness, or pain to engage controls without discomfort or fatigue.

Play Without Holding

Unlike standard controllers demanding steady grasping, the Access Controller integrally stays put. Some may prefer wrapping accessible Velcro bands around hands or wrists to leverage gross motor skills controlling the device. Either way, sustained holding and clenching proves unnecessary.

Design Process and Philosophy

Rather than crafting another external accessory, Sony wanted accessibility ingrained in the controller itself. Alvin Daniel, a senior program manager on the device, explains their approach.

“How do we put accessibility directly into the controller versus having something sit on top of it?” Daniel poses.

The resulting Access Controller thus centers wholly on disabled inclusion through tailored hardware and ergonomics. It embodies recognition that one-size-fits-all controllers isolate gamers wanting the same rich experiences as anyone else.

Pricing and Availability Details

You can pre-order the Access Controller now for $99.99 before its release on February 22nd, 2023. Given the controller’s specialized design, this premium over the standard DualSense’s $69.99 cost proves reasonable.

All major retailers plan to carry the device, including Amazon, GameStop, Walmart, and Sony Direct. Sony also commits to maintaining the Access Controller’s availability long-term rather than offering limited runs.

Real-Life Impact and Testimonials

In addition to addressing accessibility, the Access Controller also simply allows more people to enjoy genres previously off-limits. Gamers with hand weakness often cannot enjoy racing titles, for instance, given the strong, continual grip required.

But thanks to easily pressing low-force buttons and Velcro bands providing stabilization, the Access Controller grants renewed racing freedom. Lane eagerly anticipates returning to beloved racing escapades impossible in recent years after losing more hand strength.

Future Outlook and Improvements

While significant progress materialized through the Access Controller, work remains integrating accessibility earlier in both hardware and software design processes. Controls still don’t solve for some with advanced motor disability.

And universally designed gameplay mechanics benefiting both disabled and able-bodied gamers prove lacking. Sony must champion these changes alongside devices like the Access Controller for full inclusion.

Thankfully the gaming industry realized excluding disabled consumers shortchanges creativity and innovation benefiting all. Though more steps remain, Sony’s Access Controller marks a heartening start normalizing accessibility by design.

Quick Specs Overview

SpecAccess ControllerStandard DualSense
Battery Life30 hours12+ hours
Part Variants6 stick tops
16 button caps
Fixed parts
Force Required
for Buttons


The video game industry slowly opens to meet disabled gamers’ needs. The Access Controller shows the possibilities ahead where different physical abilities prove no barrier to rich gaming. But more steady work remains for full inclusion with accessible design ingrained in all future aspects of gaming.

Support behind the Access Controller moves the industry towards an inclusive future, one small but meaningful controller customization at a time. Disabled gamers deserve consideration by gaming companies, as exclusion only hampers creativity. The Access Controller’s thoughtful, tailored approach represents progress, but the vital work of accessibility continues.