Peter Byrne, a gamer from Jersey, received a special gift when he emailed Sony about his problems with their DualShock 4 Controller. After alerting Sony about his cerebral palsy making it difficult to use the controller, his problem was taken seriously by the responding employee. He received a specially modded controller to make it easier to use with his disability.
Peter Byrne’s disability makes it difficult to play games like zClancy’s The Division. These games use the controller’s touch pad to bring up maps and menus. His hands would hit the button quite often, causing him trouble while he tried to play. Frustrated, he contacted Sony for whatever help they could provide. He never imagined he’d get a custom controller with the option to turn the touchpad off.
Alex Nawabi, a PlayStation employee, felt Byrne’s plea for help. Nawabi told Byrne he could find a solution to the problem. Using personal resources and time off work, he built a custom controller that disabled the touchpad and added an extra button to the controller. He even built a second one in case the first one gets damaged.
The fact that an updated design alienated a gamer from Sony hit home with Nawabi. The simple fix of adding a new button to the controller solved the problem, so Byrne can game comfortably now. He hopes that more gaming companies will realize that disabled people are also gamers. With the industry expanding, a one size fits all approach won’t always work.