The Sony patent, filed with WIPO and first spotted by LetsGoDigital, shows a whole new kind of controller that would bring the next-gen version of PSVR in line with competitors like the Oculus Quest 2 and Valve Index.
While they're used as controllers for PSVR today, the PlayStation Move controllers are over a decade old, and were originally made for the PS3. Therefore new controllers are definitely in order, and could be made to the specifications of this new design.
The simply named "Input Device" patent is written in Japanese, but we were able to take a better look at the details thanks to Google's translation magic.
The design looks like a pair of big plastic knuckle dusters, with a central grip featuring an analog stick, a trigger and a few buttons surrounded by a semi-circular loop. The controllers emit light (likely infra-red) which is then picked up by a camera, either mounted on a VR headset or a separate peripheral, and turned into in-game inputs.
Sony recognizes that a problem with this method is that sometimes lights can overlap from the camera's perspective when the controller is held in a certain orientation, causing potential inaccuracies for game input. Its solution to this is to have two sets of lights that point in different directions with a light-shielding element dividing them, therefore reducing the chance of this happening.
You can see this in the following diagram, where the black dots marked "H" represent light emitters. One set is on the main loop facing out away from the user's hand, while the other is mounted around the bottom, facing the opposite direction.
Motion sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes are also mentioned in the article. These would also help determine how a controller is being held and moved, without the overlap problem that light would use.
Since these controllers have fewer buttons on them than the PlayStation Move controllers currently do, it's worth considering how older button-driven PSVR titles would work with these new controllers. Fortunately, the text mentions that a smaller or greater number of buttons could be used on the controllers, and besides, patents don't force companies to use only a single design, if they even become real products at all.
We know that Sony is at least working on a new VR headset based on a job posting from the company last month. It doesn't specify which arm of the company the job would be under, but it's a reasonable idea that it would be with PlayStation making the PSVR's successor.
Since the PS5 is weeks away from hitting store shelves, it's the perfect time for Sony to be readying its next big follow-up gaming product. VR is something Xbox has not been experimenting with, and there's been no leaks or rumors of upcoming VR projects for the Xbox Series X. Therefore we may see Sony capitalize on this in the near future.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.