New images from a Japanese Sony patent, first filed in March and recently published by the Japanese patent office, seem to show a new version of Sony’s DualShock controller. The patent images display some potential changes to the hardware for next year’s planned release of the PlayStation 5.
Sony system architect Mark Cerny previously discussed the PlayStation 5’s new controller in an interview with Wired last month. That interview mentioned that the new system’s controller would sport a USB-C connector for charging and a potential wired data connection. And while the newly published patent images resemble the PS4’s existing DualShock 4 in many ways, the port at the top appears to be USB-C rather than the USB-B micro connector on the DualShock 4.
There are a few other changes in the patent images that do not reflect potential controller changes Sony has publicly discussed. Chief among them is the apparent omission of the DualShock 4’s lightbar. That lightbar’s ability to glow in different colors was often used as a gimmick by game developers to indicate health or other in-game status effects, but it was also positioned in a way that was hard for players to use it or see it effectively. More importantly, many PlayStation VR games used that lightbar in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye camera to track the controller’s position in space, a function that would not be possible in the same form on the patented controller.
The patent images also show a small strip running along the bottom center of the controller, below the apparent location of the PlayStation button, including small holes in the front and rear of the controller. Wired’s October story made specific mention of “a little hole” on the PS5 controller prototype being tested and raised the possibility that the hole could be an opening for a built-in microphone that might integrate with a recently patented “voice help system using artificial intelligence.”
The recently launched Stadia controller has a similar built-in microphone for integration with the Google Assistant.
Cerny would only tell Wired “we’ll talk more about it another time” regarding the microphone, with a Sony spokesperson adding, “We file patents on a regular basis, and like many companies, some of those patents end up in our products, and some don’t.”
Sony has previously discussed other new features in the PS5 controller, including “adaptive triggers” that provide variable resistance based on in-game situations and more fine-grained haptic feedback that can provide distinct “rumble” profiles when walking across different in-game surfaces, for instance. That last feature was reportedly being considered for inclusion in the PS4 Pro controller but was delayed to avoid creating a “split experience” for PS4 users.
Sony first discussed the successor to the PS4 back in April. That announcement stressed plans for high-speed SSD storage that will allow for faster loading times, a GPU capable of hardware-accelerated ray-tracing, and a “custom unit for 3D audio.”
Listing image by Sony / Japanese patent office