Review unit provided courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment.
This story starts with our hero (EIC, whatever) fearing they are about to be arrested.
7:50 AM, there’s a knock on the door. The dog starts barking her head off. Moments before, a police car with lights and sirens pulled up in front of my apartment building. My tendency to be a nosey neighbor left me forgetting all about the fact that I was also waiting on a shipment for which I would have to sign—a PlayStation 5 review unit. It’s important to note that my apartment building requires a visitor be buzzed in past two doors before they can access the hallways. I have not buzzed anyone in. I panic. Have I done something inadvertently illegal and they’ve come to arrest me? I put my mask on (safety first!) and nervously open my door.
“Are you Craven?”
If only he knew just how craven I was right then…
Only then do I notice the boxes left beside my door and the delivery logo on his jacket. I have not accidentally broken any laws. I am not going to be arrested today. My heart now residing in my throat, I wrestle my dog away from the door and haul in my heavy boxes.
The “Play Has No Limits” holograph thing-a-ma-do makes me smile. It speaks to the mission of Can I Play That.
The box is quite heavy, which is no surprise considering the power of the console. The contents come secured inside two cardboard sleeves; the first “Play Has No Limits” one and the one shown above. Getting the inner box out required some tearing of the pretty outer sleeves, which I expected, as I was doing this unboxing on my own on a high pain day.
The handle was extremely helpful in hefting the box around, as it saved my fingers from having to do any lifting and potentially injuring myself, and the box opened fairly easily though pulling the lid tab out does require a little bit of force and fine motor control.
Getting the PS5 out of its box was not an easy feat as someone who has joint pain and limited grip strength. My options were to either grip the console wrapped in the protective paper and try to slide it out (it was too heavy and too slippery for me to do that successfully), or lift it out by the cardboard things securing the console and pray they stayed secure while I was lifting. Luckily it did.
The console itself is massive and quite awkward and uncomfortable to hold. If we weren’t in the midst of a pandemic, I’d have called a friend over to help because every time I had to move or handle it, I was terrified I would drop it due to its weight and strange shape. There is no easy or comfortable way to hold the PS5 if you have hand pain.
The stand is very easy to set up, which was welcome after the struggle of getting it out of the box. It’s as simple as positioning the stand, popping the screw out from the bottom of the stand, and screwing it into the little hole. Voila. Your PS5 is ready to stand up!
Now for the accessories!
Many throughout the community of disabled gamers have been worried about the DualSense for a variety of reasons, from its size and weight to its haptic feedback and possibly gimmicky features posing barriers (more on this soon). Unfortunately those worried about its size and weight were right to be. The DualSense is a massive change from the PS4’s DualShock. It’s weight is comparable to the Xbox Elite controller though unlike the Elite controller, the DualSense has no rubber grip surface to help hold it. It’s textured but not in a way that will be very meaningful for people with limited hand strength. After just a half hour of use, I found both hands cramping due to how my thumbs must reach for the sticks and the tension in the triggers plus the weight and uncomfortable design. I truly hope we see a smaller version of the DualSense some time soon because this will be a real barrier for disabled players.
All this being the case, I still feel that the possibilities of the DualSense could be massively important for accessibility. The vibration is so fine-tuned and specific that I envision this being a tool for Deaf/hoh and blind players if developers choose to utilize the tech in that way.
The last accessory that I’ll speak to the accessibility of is the Pulse 3D Wireless Headphones. I can’t often wear things on my head. I’m far too sensitive to touch and weight that even ball caps give me terrible headaches. So you can imagine huge gaming headsets are a nightmare for me. Gaming headsets are generally heavy and no matter what comfort features they have, they’re still wildly uncomfortable for me. The Pulse headset surprised me with its comfort and lightness. The earphones fit comfortably over my ears, even while wearing small hoop earrings and the soft stretchy band that runs across the top allows the headset to sit comfortably on my head without any of the pressure I feel from every other headset I’ve tried.
All in all, the unboxing of the PS5 was not a particularly accessible experience but there were a few pleasant surprises. Many disabled people will likely need assistance in unboxing and setting up this massive console.
Stay tuned for updates on how the console and its accessories play next week!