Earlier this year, Canadian company dbrand started selling matte black faceplates for Sony’s PS5 console, calling them ‘Darkplates’. Now, dbrand has announced it’s pulling Darkplates from sale after receiving a cease and desist letter from Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Dbrand made the announcement in a post on its subreddit, inviting Redditors to visit the product page which no longer offers the Darkplates for sale. Through the rest of the post, dbrand quotes the cease and desist letter highlighting that Sony takes issue with the way the Darkplates “replicate [Sony Interactive Entertainment]’s protected product design” as well as dbrand’s version of the PlayStation button icons engraved inside the plates.
The letter closes with Sony asking that dbrand “promptly and permanently cease and take down all marketing and promotion for and cease all sales worldwide of faceplates featuring the product configuration of SIE’s PS5 faceplates or any similar product configuration, including without limitation all faceplates currently for sale at dbrand.com.” Dbrand also says in the post that “a couple of months from that original Cease & Desist” it has been advised by Sony’s legal team that “a patent had been issued in Canada which purports to cover the shape of the PlayStation 5's side panels.”
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It probably doesn't come as a huge shock that Sony has sent this cease and desist letter. Back in October 2020 another company attempted to sell PS5 faceplates before its operation was swiftly shut down. In fact, when dbrand itself announced its line of Darkplates back in February, it was pretty forward with the slogan "Go ahead, sue us."
Dbrand wraps up its post by saying that it’s complying with Sony’s request, though it adds “for now” in bold, suggesting this might not be the last we hear of it.
Analysis: The appeal of replacement plates
With its size and bright white casing, there’s no denying the PS5 has a tendency to stand out in an entertainment center. While there are plenty of PS5 owners who love that aspect of the console, for those who don’t, swapping its plates is an easy route to happiness. And easy really is the operative word here—instructions on how to remove the faceplates of the PS5 can be found in Sony’s own teardown video of the console. TechRadar’s own John McCann tried replacing the plates on his PS5 and found the whole process pretty simple.
The ease with which it can be done has led many to believe that Sony has plans to release official faceplates of its own. Sony’s recent announcement of two new DualSense colors (Cosmic Red and Midnight Black) and a Midnight Black Pulse 3D Wireless Headset show it’s not averse to a pop of colour this generation. Even last generation it released a line of official PS4 custom faceplates. With all that in mind, an official line of PS5 faceplates doesn’t seem totally outlandish. In fact, dbrand itself speculates in its Reddit post that first-party faceplates could be Sony’s next step. But Sony itself hasn’t said a thing and we can’t know for sure until something official is confirmed.
Naturally, though, worrying about the ability to make changes to a PS5 is a luxury reserved for those who’ve actually been able to get their hands on one. Stock is still fairly hard to come by amid ongoing shortages but we’re regularly tracking retailer stock at TechRadar. Readers in the US still on the lookout for a console can follow our dedicated PS5 restock tracker as well as TechRadar's US Editor-in-Chief Matt Swider, who has had plenty of success in helping people secure consoles.
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Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.