Sony patents a PlayStation gaming cartridge - could the PSP or PS Vita return?

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has filed a patent for a PlayStation game cartridge, suggesting a new handheld console could be on the way.

According to LetsGoDigital, the patent was published by the INPI (Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial) in Brazil on November 5, 2019. Loosely translated, the patent is for 'configuration applied to / in data recording and storage device'. 

Not much information is give, but what is interesting is this 'storage device' seems to take the form of a games cartridge - which is closer to the PS Vita's game cards and the PSP's UMDs in style than a typical home console Blu-ray disk.

Check out the design below:

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital/INPI)

PlayStation cartridge?

This 'miscellaneous' product has been invented by Yujin Morisawa, Sony Interactive Entertainment's senior art designer and the man in charge of PlayStation products. If that doesn't convince you this could be a legit new PlayStation cartridge, the patent was also filed by the same body that filed for the PS5 dev kit

But what could this new cartridge be for? Well, it's possibly an add-on for the PS5 or PS4, but we're thinking it could also be for a new handheld device from Sony. 

It's been almost eight years since Sony released the handheld PS Vita and, with Nintendo just releasing the Switch Lite, it's not the worst time for Sony to dip its toes in the waters of handheld consoles once more - well, we hope. Sony's console fortunes have improved a lot since 2011, and this might be a better time to challenge that market. 

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital/INPI)

While we're hoping for a successor to the PS Vita, Sony has previously stated it isn't planning a Vita follow-up. However, that doesn't mean we won't see an entirely new Sony handheld device.

Sony hasn't announced that a new handheld is in the works but we expect, with the release of the PS5 marked for late 2020, it will likely be a while before we hear any further details on what this cartridge is for. 

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

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.