According to a patent published by the World Intellectual Property Organization in September, and filed for back in May, Sony is developing a "controller device for user interactivity with a server of a cloud gaming system" (via Techtastic).
In other words, a cloud gaming controller that works like a normal gamepad but has the benefit of connecting directly to WiFi - improving input efficiency and potentially unlocking next-level functions.
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"The controller device communicates directly to an access device for connection to a network that connects the controller device to the server without connecting to a client device", the patent states.
"Wherein the server receives and processes the inputs to render gameplay video that is transmitted over the network for rendering to a display device that is local to the controller device."
PS Now or PS5?
While it's possible this technology may be being developed for the PS5, and could be key in the PS5 controller, it's more likely we'll see it used for Sony's game streaming subscription service PlayStation Now.
Sony recently slashed the subscription price for PS Now to take on Xbox Games Pass, but it could be this is actually part of a longer term plan to improve and invest in PS Now so it's in the position next-generation to take on upcoming game streaming services such as Google Stadia.
Speaking of Google Stadia, the controller design is very similar to that of Stadia's controller.
The Stadia controller is a Wi-Fi-enabled gamepad created entirely by Google’s hardware team that will help you get the most from the streaming service when it launches later this year.
You don’t need the controller to use the streaming service but the first-party controller unlocks the next-level functions Google is building into its streaming service, like in-game help via Google Assistant, or a Share button that starts livestreaming your session on YouTube Gaming for others to watch – or join.
If Sony go down the same route with this new controller then we could see a much more immersive gaming experience on the cards.
- Check out our hands on: Google Stadia Controller review
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Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.