The PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 controller features a touchpad for controlling games, but it appears that Sony could be preparing for something a little more advanced in the future. A patent recently granted to the company strongly suggests a touchscreen-equipped controller is in the works, and its design sounds pretty familiar.
Filed back in September 2017 and granted on October 16, Sony’s patent is for a controller that features an “extension” on either side of the controller’s “main body,” with a touchscreen located in the middle. The language makes it sound like it could look similar to the Nintendo Switch with Joy-Con controllers connected on either side, though it’s possible that the extensions mentioned in the patent are merely the two handles found on previous PlayStation controllers.
It wouldn’t be the first time Sony took Nintendo’s lead on something. The PlayStation Classic was pretty obviously made as a response to Nintendo’s NES Classic and SNES Classic. The original PlayStation itself was actually meant to be an accessory for the Super Nintendo before Sony eventually spun it off into its own system. The rest is history, and probably history Nintendo wishes it could rewrite.
Sony does, of course, have experience with touchscreens already. The company’s PlayStation Vita handheld system includes a touchscreen on the front as well as a touchpad on the back, helping to make up for its fewer buttons compared to the DualShock family. This also allowed the controller to function with the PlayStation 4 using Remote Play, and certain PS4 games even included special control schemes intended to make the most of the Vita’s features.
Should the next PlayStation controller include a screen, we can only hope that Sony has done something to make its battery more robust. The DualShock 4’s battery is pretty abysmal compared to its competition, and the indicator light on the front of it likely doesn’t help the situation.
We do know that Sony is working on some sort of next-generation hardware, but the company isn’t saying exactly what that means. Since the PlayStation 4 is now five years old, we likely won’t have to wait too much longer before we hear about its successor.
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