The PS5's two-tone design has proven to be divisive amongst gamers, but changeable faceplates could be the solution to making the next-gen console a little easier on the eyes. At least, that's what we thought.
However, Sony has taken legal action against a company selling custom PS5 faceplates, forcing the third-party firm to cancel any faceplate pre-orders.
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The company in question is, or now was, called PlateStation5. But legal action from Sony accusing the company of infringing the Japanese electronics firm’s intellectual property forced PlateSation5 to rebrand to CustomizeMyPlates (opens in new tab), as well as cancel any orders for custom PS5 faceplates.
Sony has previously said that the PS5 will be customizable, but hasn’t detailed officially that the faceplates will be swappable. An official PS5 teardown revealed that the system's plates can snap right off, but Sony hasn't made any mention of custom plates from first- and third-parties.
Some third-party companies often overextend their reach with custom accessories for games consoles that might not have met the approval of the console maker itself. But this situation appears to be a mistake by CustomizeMyPlates rather than an attempt to provoke Sony.
“Before we launched, we did our due diligence and were of the opinion that because Sony only had pending patents on the faceplates there would be no problem,” said CustomizeMyPlates in an email to VGC.
“But after only a day of our website being live, Sony’s lawyers asked us to change our name (at the time PlateStation5), due to trademark infringements. We thought this switch would be enough to keep everyone happy, and honestly were hoping so since we were already underway with our product development.
“But then Sony’s lawyers told us it was their opinion, Sony’s intellectual property extended to the faceplates, and that if we continued to sell and distribute them in any country, we would end up in court.”
CustomizeMyPlates noted this all came to light rather suddenly, which is why it had to cancel and refund faceplate pre-orders worldwide.
Where does that leave PS5 customization on November 12 when the console launches? Well, we’re not too sure. We’d be confident you could customize the console yourself with awesome stickers and spray paint, but that’s hardly an elegant solution.
Rather, we suspect Sony will come out with its own official custom faceplates, and perhaps those made in conjunction with partner companies. And then later on down the line, third-party companies might be allowed in on the action. Time will tell on this one.