Peter Byrne, a man from South Amboy, N.J. with cerebral palsy, wrote to Sony to complain that his PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 touchpad was interfering with his gaming experience, according to Polygon. Instead of being ignored or given a written response of “we can’t help you,” one PlayStation employee, Alex Nawabi, responded to the letter the very next day and promised to build the keen gamer a custom-made one. And that is what he did.
— News12NJ (@News12NJ) April 2, 2016
During an interview with News 12 New Jersey, Byrne showed how he held his DualShock 4 to play Tom Clancy’s The Division and the way his condition mean a lot of inadvertent presses on the touchpad which would bring up the map or pauses the game. Cerebral palsy is a set of neurological disorders that severely restrict and alter Byrne’s movement, especially the precise motions he needs using a twin analog controller. This probed him to email Playstation Support. Bryne was given the email address of Nawabi and a series of emails were exchanged.
Nawabi told Byrne a white lie and said he was unable to do anything for him but would send him a PlayStation goodie bag instead, according to PlayStationLifeStyle. The goodie bag was really a customized controller specially designed for a gamer with cerebral palsy.
Nawabi put in over 10 hours of work and combined parts of three different controllers to make a custom controller for the gamer with cerebral palsy that was ready for use this week. Nawabi inserted a second button and rerouted the touchpad’s functions so that Byrne could play Tom Clancy’s The Division without interruptions.
Along with the controller, Nawabi wrote a letter which Byrne posted to his Facebook page.
As well as posting the letter sent by Nawabi, Byrne also shared a post explaining the situation and what Nawabi did for him. His story was picked up by the media and the feel good story is spreading across the globe.
“I figure I share this story with everyone because it is too good not to share! When I use the PlayStation 4 controller my game constantly pauses because my left hand hits the touchpad which is frustrating for me. Around two weeks ago, I decided to message PlayStation support and they gave this email address and said tell them my issue and wait for a response. A man by the name of Alex Nawabi from PlayStation messaged me and told me he was taking my matter personally and not on behalf of PlayStation. I explained to him my problem with a controller as well as my condition of cerebral palsy. I even had to give him a visual of what my left hand looked like gripping the controller. After a series of back and forth emails. Mr. Nawabi told me he was ordering some parts to come up with a solution for me. He emailed he last week saying that he tried to come up with a solution but it didn’t work. However, he would send me a PlayStation goodie box anyway. I received that box today and inside was the modified controller especially made for me and this letter. I honestly got choked up reading the letter as I did not expect anything like this to happen. Mr. Nawabi really cared about my situation and did this on his own time to make my experience better. I honestly can’t thank him enough for everything he did for me. Thank you Mr. Nawabi it really means a lot too me!”
Byrne said he hopes that his experience will send an important message to other gaming companies. “Someone listened, and cared enough to take my matter personally,” he told BuzzFeed News. “I hope that other companies look at their fan base and realize that disabled people are gamers, too, and that we need to be accommodated.”
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 2, 2016
Byrne hopes that larger companies like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo might start making modified controllers designed for people with cerebral palsy and other types of disabilities.
[Photo by Robert Lachman/Getty Images]