On December 26th, Sony applied for a patent for a new type of PlayStation controller. The patent is in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) database, but it is not entirely clear what Sony intends to do with the controller.
The design itself is similar to the well-known DualShock 4 design that most players are used to with the PlayStation 4. The new controller has the same layout for the buttons on the front, the directional pad and the analog sticks. The only real difference on the front of the controller is that no PlayStation button is visible on the patent design.
It gets a little more interesting on the back of the controller. The patent includes potential designs for the new controller – although not yet final – that include two new buttons. The new buttons appear to be programmable to perform the functions of other buttons on the controller, so you can have them run just like the circle or square buttons if you wish.
Picture: Sony via WIPO
The two back buttons can be activated with triggers in most of the proposed designs. While they appear to be directly behind the analog sticks on most of the layouts proposed in the patent, it is mentioned that they may be relocated to other locations. This may mean that the controller is customizable or that Sony wants to cover its basics for possible design iterations.
Although the timing of this new patent is a bit conspicuous considering that the PlayStation 5 is slated for release in 2020, there is no indication of which PlayStation this controller was actually designed for. It’s worth noting that the proposed design has a micro-USB port on the top of the controller, just like the DualShock 4, while the PlayStation 5 controller should have a USB-C port instead, iterating the older controller.
The idea of placing customizable triggers on the back of the controller is not new. SCUF’s PlayStation controllers and Microsoft’s Xbox Elite controllers also have customizable triggers. However, Sony has never developed its own first-party controller with this function.
In December, Sony announced the release of a new peripheral called Back Button Attachment that would attach programmable paddles to the back of a standard DualShock 4 controller. It is expected to hit the market in January 2020 for $ 29.99. Sony may be using this peripheral to make PS4 controllers compatible with the upcoming console, especially if the new patented Sony design is for a PlayStation 5 controller.
Since this design is only a patent, there is no guarantee that the controller will actually be released. Sony could just secure a potential design for the future.