August 10, 2022

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A new Sony patent shows the company doubling down on mobile gaming, and it could...

A new Sony patent shows the company doubling down on mobile gaming, and it could mean more advanced controller features for your iPhone or Android phone, similar to those in PlayStation’s DualSense and DualShock controllers.

Mobile gaming is one of the most lucrative parts of the gaming industry right now. Millions of players in the East prefer playing games on their smartphones rather than on a home console, and game corporations are responding in part with dedicated mobile versions of popular franchises.

Sony is among those companies joining the push for mobile gaming in the West, with PlayStation boss Jim Ryan saying to expect PlayStation game franchises to appear on phones and tablets in the coming years. This push into mobile makes the new patent from Sony fascinating, as it indicates that a dedicated controller peripheral for mobile devices could be in the works.

Diagram showing an example of an operation registration screen.

We can already use PlayStation’s DualSense and DualShock 4 wireless controllers with mobile devices, and that’s definitely a good route to take if you like the feel of those gamepads or want to play your PS4 or PS5 console remotely. But a dedicated mobile gaming PlayStation controller would be your best chance at utilizing the more advanced features of Sony’s controllers on your iPhone or Android phone.

Diagram showing an example of a virtual button set on the touch panel.

The patent shows a drawing of what appears to be a DualShock 4 controller surrounding a smartphone. Controller with docking features are nothing new, but a Sony peripheral has a lot of future potential. Namely, incorporating the improved haptics of the PS5’s DualSense controller. These haptics and adaptive triggers add immersive elements to games by simulating feelings through the controller. These sensations aren’t used in mobile games very often, but advanced rumble in a Sony-branded controller could pave the way for more implementation in the future.

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Another diagram showing an example of an operation registration screen.

In addition to rumble features, Sony could use the peripheral for its reported new service coming within the following year. The new service, according to Bloomberg, will integrate Sony’s PS Now and PS Plus services into one, adding an ever-growing library of PSP and PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 games for a monthly price.

Coupling that news with other recent cloud-based patents from Sony (including 5G support, graphical enhancements, and continue gameplay on other devices) indicates a direct competitor to Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming could be in the works. If Sony were to implement cloud gaming for PlayStation, you could use your phone to play games streamed online.

Since smartphones are essentially a touchpad, games that use the DualShock 4 and DualSense’s touchpad should work with the patented controller. This utilization would be a boon for PS Remote Play, a feature on both the PS4 and PS5 that allows you to stream the video of your console to your smartphone so you can play games remotely.

The PS Remote Play app comes with touch controls, but they aren’t as good as a regular PlayStation controller. Using the peripheral could make the service easier to use. The only alternative to the touch controls is using a DualShock 4 or DualSense controller connected through Bluetooth.

With a new dedicated gaming controller from Sony, you could plug your phone into the dock and use it like a Nintendo Switch. PS Remote Play’s functionality with the proposed controller would also double as a suitable second controller. All you would need to do is let someone else use the peripheral and connect to the console with their smartphone through the PS Remote Play app.

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Whatever Sony has planned for the patent will likely take at least a year, if not more, before an actual product comes of it. Sony patents numerous ideas for PlayStation that never see the light of day, so it’s also possible that a mobile gaming controller never comes about. However, with all of the moves by the company and recent interviews, it looks more likely that it’s already in development than not.