PlayStation 5 controllers may have touchscreens

In the gaming industry, one of the few constants throughout the years has been the design of Sony's DualShock controller for the PS4. Though each generation sees some minor tweaks to the design of the controller, there hasn't been much in the way of radical change jumping from console to console. That might be changing, as a new Sony patent suggests a big new feature for a future version of the DualShock.

The patent, which was filed last year and published last month, shows a DualShock controller that doesn't really look all that different from what we've got now. The abstract, however, suggests that this controller might shake things up with a touchscreen, referencing "a touchscreen defined along the top surface of the main body between the first extension and the second extension."

The patent first surfaced on Reddit over the weekend, and at the moment, there's a lot of speculation over whether this might be a new version of the DualShock 4 or if it'll the be the controller that ships alongside the PlayStation 5. We don't have a concrete idea of when the PlayStation 5 might launch, but the current thinking is that we'll see it at some point before the end of 2021 (possibly much earlier according to some reports).

Nintendo, of course, already experimented with touchscreens embedded in controllers through the Wii U. In that case, the Wii U gamepad was outfitted with a 6.2-inch display, which is likely quite a bit larger than the one we'd see on this new DualShock. The DualShock 4 already has touch capabilities through its forward-facing touchpad, though most games these days don't really take advantage of that functionality in any compelling way.

Keep in mind that the existence of this patent doesn't necessarily mean we'll see a DualShock controller with a touchscreen somewhere down the line. Companies patent technologies and designs all the time, and this could simply be an instance of Sony trying to cover all bases before it determines a final design for the next DualShock. We'll keep an eye open for more on this, but realistically, we probably won't hear of any changes to the DualShock until the PS5 is revealed at some undetermined point in the future.