Sony is under a lot of pressure to unveil the PlayStation 5, or at least some new details about the upcoming console, as Microsoft is already way ahead. The Xbox Series X name and design were revealed in mid-December, and the company just shared many of the console’s next-gen specs this week. Both were complete surprises, as Microsoft hijacked an awards show to reveal the console’s design last December, and then suddenly dropped a blog post that featured a deep dive into the Xbox Series X’s hardware this week.
While we wait for Sony’s moves, which will likely be affected by the coronavirus outbreak that prompted the cancelation of several major events, with Sony itself pulling out of at least three trade shows so far, we do have more exciting PlayStation news for you. Unlike Microsoft, which has controlled the narrative, Sony’s innovations have leaked at a steady pace. And the newest finding is more exciting than any of the previous ones, as it details a controller feature that would give the new PlayStation a huge advantage over the Series X.
Not all of the patents we’ve seen online will end up becoming features of the PlayStation 5, but patents do provide plenty of information about Sony’s vision for the future of gaming. It’s thanks to patent leaks that we learned about the design of the PS5 dev kit last year. And other patents revealed plenty of interesting potential PS5 features, like a voice-based digital assistant that would provide help in real-time, rear-facing buttons, or support for biofeedback on a future DualShock 5 accessory.
The newest Sony patent, found by SegmentNext, details a feature that you may have been dreaming of: Wireless charging support for the DualShock controller.
A PS5 concept a few months ago imagined a PS5 console that would feature a built-in wireless charging coil near the top, where the DualShock controllers could be placed when not in use (image above). That’s not how the latest patent describes the tech working, however — here’s the relevant portion of the patent:
A wireless charging adapter that can snap onto a computer game controller can be inductively coupled to a charging base to wirelessly recharge a battery in the controller. The adapter also can include keys that mirror keys on the controller so that a gamer can remove the adapter with controller from the charging base, keep the adapter on the controller, and use both the controller keys and adapter keys to control a computer game.
The wording above suggests that the DualShock 5 won’t necessarily feature components that would allow wireless charging. Instead, you might have to buy an accessory for it. But the document also suggests that once applied, the accessory can stay on during gameplay, as it’ll feature button duplicates so that you can continue using the controller while it’s charging.
Sony is also considering a scenario where the gamer would keep the charging accessory on the charging mat, and hook the controller with a wire to that accessory to continue playing. That doesn’t sound very user-friendly.
The fact that Sony is looking at an accessory indicates that the DualShock 4 could be turned into a controller that can charge wirelessly with the help of the same device.
The best way to charge DualShock 5 controllers would be, of course, via USB-C, but Sony has yet to confirm whether the console will feature any USB-C ports. An accessory maker already announced an SSD drive for consoles that would need a USB-C port to deliver the fastest theoretical speeds possible, though.
As with previous Sony gaming-related patents, there’s no guarantee the gadget described in this new patent will ever be made. But it certainly makes sense to see Sony looking at wireless charging solutions for DualShock controllers, given that wireless charging tech adoption has been increasing in recent years.