Granted a just over a year after the PS5's release, the patent is straightforward and showcases removable side panels for the PS5. But the non-finalized patent could not only give Sony more legal ammunition to scare third-party vendors with, but open the door to official Sony faceplates, letting owners change their PS5’s color scheme.
Although Sony has never announced plans to offer official alternate PS5 plates, it feels almost inevitable that something will happen eventually. Not only is the console designed in such a way that the existing plates easily snap off for simple replacement — something that has to be done in order to upgrade your PS5’s internal storage — but a former Sony designer boasted that the PS5 was “customizable in ways previous gens weren’t” ahead of launch.
Sony has also released both black DualSense controllers and a headset with no console to match. Unveiling some black plates would grant those lucky enough to track down a PS5 restock the ability to color coordinate. And it feels like a no brainer, given early adopters are unlikely to trade in their white PS5 the second a special edition is released.
But customizable plates aren’t completely without their risks from a commercial perspective. You may remember that Microsoft allowed limited customization with the Xbox 360’s faceplate, which could be replaced with any number of designs ranging from classy to gaudy. Those, it turned out, were a flop in terms of sales.
“Turned out nobody bought it. So [we stopped] making them,” Microsoft’s then director of global marketing, Albert Penello, explained in 2010. “We killed that one pretty quickly.
“The idea wasn't bad... people used to put faceplates on their cell phones,” he continued. “Rewind five years, faceplates were what everybody wanted to do.”
Eleven years is a long time in hardware fashion, and maybe people are ready to customize their consoles all over again. The fact that lawyer-baiting accessory maker Darkplates has filled orders up until next year suggests that there is at least some demand. And that demand will surely only increase if and when Sony manages to keep the PS5 on store shelves for a decent period of time.