The reveal of Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller in May furthered conversation around video games and accessibility. The controller inspired DIY modders to invent their own peripherals aimed at gamers with different mobility needs. This 3D-printed, one-handed PS4 controller is one of those projects.
Constructed by a YouTuber who goes by Doppel, the prototype in the video below attempts to take everything you’d find on the default PS4 Dualshock 4 and put it on a single-grip chunk of plastic. It kind of looks like a PlayStation Move controller if the opaque white orb at the top were replaced with a bunch of face buttons. It even has a mini rectangular button representing the input for the Dualshock 4’s touchpad, although without the swiping functionality.
All of the trigger buttons are on the underside. The right analog stick sits at the top of the controller, while the left one is on the bottom end. In the video, Doppel presses it against his left leg to control it, which isn’t ideal. He put the controller to the test in a couple of matches of Trackmania Turbo, a game well-suited to the prototype since most of the time you’re just going forward. Doppel still has a fairly hard time with some of the sharper turns and aerial acrobatics, but on the whole it’s not hard to see how someone who practised with this one-handed creation could get much better with it. It can’t be any harder than playing an action platformer with your feet.
Even if Doppel’s prototype isn’t a panacea for gaming accessibility on PS4, it’s interesting to see how people are taking up the challenge of how to make gaming more inclusive. After the warm reception to the Xbox Adaptive Controller at E3, it’s a topic more and more people are talking about. The head of Nintendo of North America, Reggie Fils-Aimé, recently told Waypoint in an interview that he thought it was important for companies to come up with more solutions to meet the needs of different people. “I would argue this really isn’t a platform specific issue,” he said. “It’s an industry issue of how do we make sure that our content and the ability to play our content is as inclusive as possible.”
As interest around projects like these grows, hopefully we’ll see companies like Nintendo, Sony, and Valve introduce their own versions of the Adaptive Controller so that games across every platform are opened up to a larger audience.