It looks like Sony has patented a new PlayStation-style controller for use with your mobile device.
Per VGC, a patent was recently filed by Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Japanese branch, and the document details hardware that would fit onto either side of your device, using its screen as the display in the middle. It sort of looks a bit like a Nintendo Switch, or the Backbone One that’s been so popular with iPhone users.
The patent suggests Sony is looking at a DualShock-inspired design, rather than something based on the PS5’s DualSense. The design is made up of “a left side grip portion and a right side grip portion gripped by the left and right hands of the user”. In the middle, and not shown in the technical drawings, the two grips will be connected by “a shaft portion that can be tilted by the user, and detect the tilting direction and tilting amount of the shaft portion” – likely enabling gyroscopic features in mobile apps.
In terms of practical applications, this hardware could be used to allow you to play PlayStation games via a console’s Remote Play functionality, or stream them via the cloud (a la Xbox Cloud Gaming). If Sony is serious about pushing the likes of PlayStation Now to contend with the well-marketed force of Xbox Game Pass and Cloud Gaming, this device could be a good way for the Japanese company to get its foot in the door.
It makes sense that Sony would want to expand more into mobile gaming; in an interview in October, Sony head Jim Ryan commented that he wants PlayStation games to “be enjoyed by an almost limitless audience“. Breaking free of the confines of the living room or bedroom and getting directly into players’ hands certainly lives up to this ideal.
We’ve already heard that PlayStation wants to bring Uncharted, God of War and more to mobile, and Ryan himself has explicitly noted mobile will be a tool Sony uses to expand PlayStation’s reach in the future.
“We have been thinking about how players enjoy our content and have had some early success with experimenting with mobile games and apps to provide more choice to gamers,” he said in the aforementioned interview. “Mobile is just one of the areas we are exploring to reach millions of gamers beyond our platforms.”
At the time of writing, Sony has not formally commented on the patents.