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PlayStation controller patent shows off interesting new feature

Gaming news has definitely slowed down during the holiday season, but it seems Sony is going to remain in the headlines — even if it doesn't intend to. A new patent unearthed via the World Intellectual Property Organization database shows off a PlayStation controller design we haven't seen before. Now we're left to wonder which platform the controller is tied to.

As you can see via the image above, the pad doesn't look much different than the DualShock 4 we've all come to know these past few years. However, if you take a look to the sides of the grips, you'll notice two brand new buttons. These inputs can reportedly be mapped to other functions, meaning you could set a back button to act as your "X" if you wanted. Interestingly enough, these buttons serve the same purpose as the ones found on Sony's PS4 Back Button Attachment, which the company unveiled recently.

The way we see it, this could go one of two ways.

Scenario A sees Sony offering up a brand new DualShock 4 with these built-in buttons, while also selling the Back Button Attachment for those who already own DualShock 4s and don't want to buy brand new gamepads. It seems a little late to do that, given the PlayStation 5 is right around the corner. But we are getting the Back Button Attachment, after all, so Sony clearly doesn't care about the calendar. This scenario is supported by the fact that the controller appears to have a micro-USB port on top, which is not unlike the current DualShock 4s.

Scenario B is simple: this is the PlayStation 5 controller. What we're looking at isn't all that different from the DualShock 4 — which is to be expected — and though we've seen other PS5 controller patents in the past, it's possible Sony continued to revise the pad until it reached the design you see here. And this still might not be the final iteration, for what it's worth.

Unfortunately, we don't have more information for you at this time. It would be irresponsible to dub this the PS5 controller when we're not sure, but it's entirely possible that's what we're looking at. Or this could be an upgraded DS4. We'll have to sit and wait until Sony decides to show off some hardware before we really know for sure. When that happens, we'll fill you in.

The PlayStation 5 is shaping up to be quite the console

Even if this controller doesn't belong to the PlayStation 5, that doesn't take away from the interest Sony's drawn for its next-generation console. We've heard plenty about the system thanks to numerous Sony interviews and statements, and a few patents have shed some light on the PS5, as well.

We know, for instance, that the PlayStation 5 plans to make gaming far more of a sensory experience. Sony plans to incorporate haptic feedback into its joysticks and triggers, allowing players to feel the tension of a drawn bow or the sensation of crossing an icy surface. We also know Sony wants to put fewer barriers in between players and the activities they might be interested in. The PS5's operating system will highlight games being played by friends, quests players can kick off in titles, and more.

On top of that, it sure sounds like Sony learned its lessons from the days of the PlayStation 3. Back when the PS3 launched, Sony believed its Cell Processor was revolutionary; what it ultimately did, however, was make life more complicated for developers. The PlayStation 4 took a step toward ease of use, and now it sounds like the PlayStation 5 will go even further. In fact, according to Sony exec Shuhei Yoshida, developers are already heaping praise onto the PS5, with some calling it the easiest platform they've ever developed for.

And that controller patent we discussed earlier? Well, that's not the only one of those we've seen. A patent for a new PlayStation gamepad was actually discovered a little more than a month ago, and interestingly enough, it completely does away with the light bar Sony introduced in the DualShock 4. At the time, we believed we might have been looking at the PS5 gamepad, which would presumably be called the DualShock 5. But with this latest patent showing up, we're honestly not sure what Sony is up to in the controller department anymore.

We feel pretty confident we'll be seeing the PlayStation 5 sometime in the first half of this year. Once we lay eyes on the system, we'll have a better sense of what's real about the console and what isn't. We'll be reporting on all PS5 news in the meantime, so stay tuned.