November 16, 2018 Update: The latest PlayStation 5 reports and rumors hint at a 2019 reveal and 2020 release date. Details here.
Sony Interactive Entertainment America has filed a patent for a gaming controller that features a touchscreen, which has prompted speculation from industry analysts that the PlayStation 5 might use the technology in its design. The patent was filed with the United States Patent Office earlier this week.
Rumors of a PlayStation 5 have existed since just after the release of the PS4, but Sony recently acknowledged the existence of the next generation console, which has caused many to begin to wonder what such a device would look like. There's no denying that mobile gaming has become a bigger part of the industry in the years since the PS4 made its debut, and the most successful console outside of Sony's dominant device has been the Nintendo Switch, a hybrid that employed touchscreen as part of its many innovations.
It's possible that Sony is headed in that direction as well if the patent, reported by MP1ST, ends up being for the PlayStation 5. The DualShock 5 might just be the most ambitious iteration of the iconic controller yet, although there are a few reasons this might not be likely, particularly the previous DualShock 4's contextually poor battery life. Adding extra functionality to a device that has historically performed poorly when it comes to efficiency might be too much to ask at this point.
Still, other innovations, including better schematics regarding battery life, could easily make the PS5's touchscreen controller a likelihood. Given current trends in the industry, it wouldn't be surprising - mobile games, which are usually touchscreen-based, continue to make inroads as the most financially viable platform for developers. The touchscreen described in the patent is stated to be "a touchscreen defined along the top surface of the main body between the first extension and the second extension," so it isn't going to be as large as a mobile screen or even something like a Nintendo DS, so hardcore Sony loyalists needn't worry too much.
It doesn't sound like Sony is reinventing the wheel with this patent, but rather looks to be adding a bit more functionality to the concept of its controllers. Whether this design makes it into the final look of the PlayStation 5 or not, its reassuring to see that Sony isn't resting on the company's laurels after completely dominating a console generation that saw its PlayStation VR exclusives outnumber the Xbox One's. In any case, it's going to be a while before we find out. Sony said early this summer that the PS5 is at least three years away, meaning the company has plenty of time to iron out controller schematics.