According to a patent application continuation filed in 2017 and published recently, Sony may have tentative plans to build out a touchscreen-equipped PlayStation controller.
Whether the value added from having a touchscreen right on the controller will be worth the added cost is not yet clear.
Right now, PlayStation controllers have a touch-enabled center button that allows users to navigate through menus and other activities with a touch-based interface. The center button also lets gamers access more information, such as game stats, when clicked.
This patent application also leaves us wondering what type of content might be displayed on the touchscreen. As you can imagine, controller content could include in-game information that is usually shown on a heads-up display on the main screen.
However, it’s far more likely that a touchscreen-equipped PlayStation controller would offer a new interface for console-based information and actions, such as sharing a video broadcast or dealing with incoming invites and friend requests.
Interestingly, Nintendo’s own experiment with a touchscreen-enabled controller failed miserably. Remember the Wii U? Nintendo eventually corrected the mistake with the launch of the Switch, which has found its place among casual gamers as a sort of hybrid console and sold more than 20 million units since launch.
Of course, Sony’s touchscreen controller is nothing more than a patent application for now, so there’s a solid chance that the same controllers we’ve grown to know and love ship alongside the next-gen PlayStation with no update to be seen. But just in case someone at Sony decides to get inventive, the patent is in place for the company to start thinking about touchscreen controllers.
Reports suggest that the next-generation Sony console could arrive as early as 2019 or as late as 2021.