No matter where you stand in the trivial console debate, it’s no arguing that this generation’s more interesting design was seen in the PS5. Not only did it have a striking, futuristic appearance but it also was functionally superior to the Xbox Series X due to how repair-friendly it was. The defining feature of the design were the collar-imitating faceplates on either side of the console. And, it just happened to be that these faceplates could easily come off and be replaced.
Of course, this sparked ideas of custom faceplates almost immediately. As soon as the community discovered it was this easy to change PS5’s faceplates, it took little time before custom faceplates had already become a thing. CustomizeMyPlates, a small company hoping to capitalize off this little discovery was the first to announce and plan on releasing custom faceplates for PS5. However, things did not go as planned, at all.
The moment Sony caught the wind of this, they took legal action against the company and CustomizeMyPlates had to cancel and refund all pre-orders of custom PS5 faceplates, because it was way too much of a hassle fighting Sony in court over trademarks that would allude copyright infringement. Similarly, popular vinyl-wrap company Dbrand also faced legal action from Sony after they announced their initial run of custom PS5 faceplates, twice.
Dbrand, however, was clever enough to dodge this predicament by rebuilding the faceplates from the ground-up and essentially making them unique. Since the faceplates, named “Darkplates 2.0“, now had an original design that was different enough from Sony’s design, they technically couldn’t be sued over this. On top of that, Dbrand went as far as to mock Sony’s lawyers in their sales copy, challenging Sony’s legal team to try to take action by saying “If they want to try, they’d better be ready to pay our legal fees.”
The Patent and what it means
Fast forward to today and Sony has officially patented PS5 faceplate, as initially spotted by OPAttack. The patent was actually filed last year right before the console’s launch but it was just published this week on November 16th in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. So, this tells us that all this time Sony was trying to fight third-party faceplate sellers while waiting for its own patent to be published.
That means that the sole purpose of this patent could be to aid Sony in preventing anyone from creating custom faceplates for the PS5 as now an official patent is in their way. Furthermore, this suggests that Sony knew from the start that the easy modularity of the PS5’s design would lead to third-party sellers making their own custom parts so they filed a patent as soon as possible to combat such activity. But it took more than a year for the patent to be actually registered.
There is also hope that perhaps this patent would finally lead to Sony releasing their own official PS5 faceplates, perhaps to even match the Midnight Black and Cosmic Red colorways of the DualSense controller. The PS5 itself only comes in white so this could be Sony’s way to offering more colors without actually creating entirely new consoles with different paint jobs. Whatever this whole scenario might entail, it’s clear that Sony wants to be in absolute control of the faceplates people put on their PlayStation 5s.