Smartphone game controller grips are nothing new, with Razer’s Kishi pioneering the idea of turning your handset into a makeshift Nintendo Switch via two pieces that attach to both sides of the screen.
Now it appears that Sony is considering going after that same target market, as a new patent imagines a DualShock-shaped grip to take PlayStation gaming on the move.
The patent, first reported by Video Game Chronicles, was published by Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Japanese division and described as “a left side grip portion and a right side grip portion gripped by the left and right hands of the user."
But it’s slightly more advanced than a familiarly shaped piece of molded plastic, with the description adding the possibility of motion controls, too. The patent describes “a shaft portion that can be tilted by the user, and detect the tilting direction and tilting amount of the shaft portion.”
In truth it looks a bit unwieldy for an accessory that would best be tucked in your bag for longer journeys. After all, if you’re just playing games at home, then any old Bluetooth controller — including the DualShock and DualSense controllers — can be used with both iPhones and Android devices pretty easily.
But it’s also clearly true that some people feel extremely comfortable with the PlayStation layout and feel — people who may find Razer’s solution a bit too alien to enjoy. For them, this could be a great solution if it finds its way off the page of a patent and into a commercially available product.
More importantly, it provides an insight into Sony’s future plans, and smartphone gaming is undoubtedly an important part of that in the absence of a new Vita or PSP.
Indeed, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has already said that some of the company’s “iconic” IP will be coming to mobile.
“PlayStation has a huge catalogue of diverse first-party IP that can transition to smartphone gaming and complement our AAA games or live service games,” Ryan said at the time. “We are exploring the mobile market with some wonderful PlayStation franchises so please stay tuned.”
Of course, Sony has its work cut out on that score, with Xbox Game Pass already letting subscribers stream titles to their phones — something which works especially well with a dedicated game grip.
If it turns out that Sony’s idea of a mobile experience is a cut-down, built for mobile, free-to-play app, then hardcore PlayStation fans might be better off banking on whats arguably a form of PS Vita successor: the Valve Steam Deck, and all the excellent game that are set to be supported.