I may not be the target gamer that the PlayStation Access Controller was created for but I was very eager to check it out. I was keen to see how PlayStation’s first attempt at making games more accessible (from a hardware point of view) worked and integrated with the PS5 console. We hope to bring you some experiences from gamers that benefit from this more accessible controller in the near future, but for now here’s a first look at how the controller works.
From a design point of view, the PlayStation Access controller follows the iconic PS5 design that we’ve seen rolled out in everything from the console to each and every accessory that has dropped since launch with its white and black design.
The unboxing experience has been simplified to make it more accessible with the outer box featuring large loops that can be torn open with the components inside the box being unwrapped and free from plastic which is great not only for sustainability but so that it’s not tricky to pull anything out.
As far as what’s in the box, there’s three analogue stick toppers (for the singular analogue stick), ranging from one that is the same as the DualSense controller, a flat, wider cap and a larger topper that is similar to what can be found on a fighting stick or an arcade machine.
There’s nine buttons on the Access controller, with eight featuring around the edges of the controller and a larger one in the middle. Whilst the actual button switches perform fairly similarly, there’s a lot of variety in the button toppers included.
There’s over 20 buttons tops included in the box (five different varities) each which unclip using a little button on the side, and can be guided back onto the controller with magnets before being pushed down. It’s a robust system that really allows the buttons to stay in place but also allows them to be removed and placed back on without a lot of difficulty.
These buttons all range in texture, height and width but to allow for different reachability, but also to provide a tactile different between them. Some are slim but longer, whilst others have a higher profile and there’s even some buttons that span across two sections of the controller.
These buttons can be labelled either with the pre-marked silicon tops, that also have raised characters for further accessibility, or you can even assign inputs to one button and mark the included blank silicon tops with pen or pencil to indicate what buttons are being pressed.
As soon as you connect the PlayStation Access controller to the PS5 console, the experience is really clearly laid out with the core buttons needed to customise already being assigned and marked on the console.
The controller can be used in any orientation and you can then begin to go through the process of marking what each button does, what the analogue stick does and a range of other options such as stick sensitivity and dead zones to really customise the experience.
You can configure up to 30 individual profiles, with three able to be stored on the Access controller and swapped between on the fly. This allows you to go from game-to-game and quickly swap between control methods to get playing with minimal fuss.
Realistically, the PlayStation Access controller is supposed to be paired with another Access controller or a DualSense controller. There’s also mounts on the bottom of the unit to connect another analogue sticks or four 3.5mm ports on the side that can be paired with a range of existing accessories including Logitech’s Adaptive Gaming kit.
It’s clear that this isn’t going to be a one-size fits all solution to every gamer, but if you look at the PlayStation Access as a central hub to customise to fit your specific needs, it’s a great initiative from PlayStation and one that can only get better with time.