Mark Barlet is the founder of AbleGamers, a nonprofit organization that uses the power of video games to combat social isolation among people with disabilities. AbleGamers worked with Sony on creating the Access controller for the PlayStation, designed to make gaming more accessible for individuals with disabilities. Sony reached out to AbleGamers about five years ago to discuss the idea of creating a controller that truly supports players with disabilities. The goal was to learn from AbleGamers about the unique experiences and needs of gamers with disabilities. Instead of focusing on specific disabilities, they aimed to create an inclusive solution that bridges the gap between games and controllers not designed for unique presentations in the world.
Before the development of more accessible controllers, gamers with disabilities often had to cobble together solutions, make compromises, or use workarounds to play games. These solutions could lead to issues like fatigue and discomfort. The Access controller and similar initiatives help address these challenges by providing more inclusive gaming options.