Earlier this week, Sony at long last announced the PS5 would be getting replacement faceplates. And this time, they’d be official ones, rather than another opportunity for Sony’s legal team to practice writing cease and desist letters.
This move is long overdue, especially since Sony designed the PS5’s faceplates to be removable. And while simple multi-colored plates won’t change the fact that Sony’s newest console is pretty ugly, there are plates out there that can make the console a little easier on the eyes.
I am, of course, talking about dbrand (opens in new tab) and their second generation Darkplates. The company rose to prominence at the start of the year, offering matte black faceplates for the PS5 and daring Sony’s lawyers to come after them.
Sony’s lawyers did eventually do so, after getting round to copyrighting the PS5’s faceplate design, but not until October. That gave dbrand enough time to develop something new, not based on Sony’s design, which makes them immune from further legal threats.
I just received some Darkplates 2.0, and I can promise you that my PS5 looks significantly better than it did before. Not only do I have a Black console that matches everything else in my living room, but the console isn’t nearly as ugly as before.
Because let’s be honest, the PS5 is not a particularly nice looking console. In fact one of my colleagues here at Tom’s Guide has gone so far as to crown it “the ugliest games console ever made.” Of course, the Xbox Series X won’t be winning any beauty pageants either, but there’s something to appreciate about its blocky simplicity.
While there’s no changing the fact the PS5 is a hulk of a device, and won’t fit inside my TV stand like a normal console, Darkplates 2.0 make it a lot more palatable. In fact I’d go so far as to say they offer the design Sony should have used.
It’s not entirely clear why the PS5 has fins in the first place. They don’t seem to offer any sort of practical function, like increased airflow, and they don’t make the console look any better.
The fact companies like dbrand (or the short-lived SUP3R5) were able to gain attention by offering a matte black facelift shows I’m not the only person that thinks Sony made a mistake in opting for white. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of white electronics (or cars for that matter). It just comes off as cheap and tacky — which is the absolute last thing you want from a $500 console you had to struggle for months to buy.
Obviously the Darkplates do have a few downsides as well. They’re more expensive than Sony’s offering, for one, currently costing $59 (plus shipping) compared to Sony’s $55. Sony’s plates are also due to release in January, while Darkplates are currently sold out until February. That’s because, in the company’s own words, “the supply chains are on fire.”
Some of my colleagues here at Tom’s Guide have criticised the fact Darkplates have vents cut into the side, though personally I don’t mind them. They have a mesh grille to keep dust out, and they should be able to keep my console a little bit cooler.
That’s not such a big deal in the middle of December, but it means there should be less risk my PS5’s fan will increase to jet engine speeds when summer rolls around. You know, like the PS4.
Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely on board with the fact Sony is releasing its own PS5 faceplates. Frankly, it’s kind of shocking that it’s taken so long for them to capitalize on the fact people don’t necessarily want a white console. An official release will also probably kill some demand for third party plates, Darkplates included, just by existing.
But that doesn’t mean those third party plates don’t look good. As dbrand has shown, they can still offer something Sony does not, and make your console look better for it.