Earlier this year accessory-maker dbrand launched the ‘Darkplates’ that replaced the stock white PS5 plates for matte black plates, letting the console match the darker colors of other home electronics. Then last weekend dbrand was forced to pull the plates from sale after Sony sent a cease and desist letter.
But this isn’t the end for Darkplates. In fact the company has taken this blow in its stride, and come back with ‘Darkplates 2.0.' A redesigned version of the original Darkplates that dbrand claims makes them immune from copyright lawsuits — even in light of Sony’s latest crackdown.
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Of course, dbrand famously dared Sony to go legal when it launched the first Darkplates, causing fans to criticize the company for caving to a legal threat so quickly. However, according to an extensive Reddit post announcing Darkplates 2.0, dbrand confirmed things weren’t as simple as they looked on the outside.
It turns out that Sony obtained a design patent for the PS5’s plates in the time between the launch of the original Darkplates and the legal threat. So while dbrand was doing nothing lawsuit-worthy when it launched the plates, having assumed Sony would never get a design patent, the fact it was using a now-patented design meant the company was legally in the wrong.
The options were either to spend millions fighting existing copyright law, or start over with a new design. So it did the latter, aided by the fact the company had already done a bunch of work developing its own custom PS5 plate design. So Darkplates 2.0 were born.
Darkplates 2.0 are noticeably different from the originals, which were pretty much carbon copies of the original PS5 plate design. Not only are the console’s wings now gone, meaning plates offer a much straighter and nicer look, each individual plate has a large fan vent on the side.
Funnily enough the vents are placed right over the console’s internal fans. According to dbrand these vents help distinguish its new design from Sony’s patented one, and will help improve the PS5’s cooling system. Because the standard plates were essentially "choking" the fans, and causing the console to run around nine degrees Fahrenheit hotter than a console without them.
dbrand also shut down any complaints about dust, claiming that your PS5 probably already has dust in it. Which is likely true, since dust gets everywhere, whether you like it or not. So it’s included some optional mesh grills to help keep the pesky stuff out of your PS5. Or, alternatively, you can use them as “wildly impractical coasters."
The new design also comes with new colors and accessories. If you like the new design but hate the color black, you’ll be happy to know that dbrand now offers Darkplates 2.0 in white.
White Darkplates is a complete oxymoron, but if you happen to like snow-white styled gadgets then it’s an option. There are also ‘"retro gray" Darkplates, which are designed to color-match “a retro console which shall remain nameless.” Which sounds a lot like the original PlayStation.
The price has changed, though. Previously Darkplates were $60, but the Darkplates 2.0 are $69.05. However they are currently discounted, and can be purchased for $59.05. The price is the same for all colors, and regardless of whether you buy plates for the disc or digital editions of the console. Shipping is free if you live in the U.S. or Canada, though international orders do come with extra fees.
Also now on sale are "lightstrips," which are semi-translucent strips of vinyl that cover the existing LED strips on the side of your PS5. While dbrand admits it didn’t invent this idea, it claims its “proprietary double-shot coloring process guarantees the most vibrant lightstrips available on the market." You can pick from a variety of colors, and don’t need to have the same ones for both sides of the console. They cost $4.95 each.
Naturally the company’s "middle skins," which add some flair to the PS5’s center bar, are still on sale for $9.95.
dbrand admits that Sony will probably still try and sue, but it claims to be in the clear because it developed its own original design. In other words Sony apparently has “no basis to allege infringement." We’ll just have to see what Sony actually does, but in the meantime Darkplates 2.0 are available to pre-order on the dbrand website.
Pre-orders won’t start shipping until January 2022, so unfortunately you have a bit of a wait on your hands. However, if you missed out on Darkplates the first time round, maybe because you haven’t been able to nab a console in one of the recent PS5 restocks, it looks like you’re going to be safe for the time being.
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Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.