Sony’s patent for customisable faceplates for the PS5 consoles has finally been made public, as noticed by OpAttack. This has prompted speculation the console manufacturer may be considering making its own swappable faceplates and skins. The patent follows a year of issues with third-party manufacturers creating their own PS5 faceplates only to face legal action from Sony.
The patent describes an “ornamental design for a cover for an electronic device” before displaying several diagrams showing the faceplates from different perspectives. To be fair, there’s not a lot more you can do in a patent for a faceplate, but it does potentially suggest Sony may be considering manufacturing its own swappable faceplates. An official console teardown video released a month before the PS5 became available to players shows just how easy it is to remove the covers and how simple it is to apply customized faceplates—in fact, you need to remove one side if you want to add storage to the SSD expansion slot. However, it could also be merely a legal response to issues Sony has faced with third-party manufacturers.
Third-party manufacturers have been trying to sell custom PS5 faceplates ever since the PlayStation 5’s release back in November 2020. Platestation.com began selling customized faceplates a month before the console had even been released, but Sony took umbrage to this move. The company had to change its name to Customize My Plates to clarify it was not affiliated with Sony in any way, but then a further legal threat led to the manufacturer canceling all orders.
Customize My Plates then turned to crowdfunding to finance the faceplates, as this would have allegedly made legal matters more complicated for Sony, but even that didn’t work. After months of silence, the company returned as CMP Shells and claimed it was untouchable after filing a patent of its own. This does see to have worked so far and CMP Shells is currently still selling faceplates through its website (Editor’s note: including some really cool transparent shells).
Meanwhile, another company known as Dbrand announced its own faceplates in December 2020 and even dared Sony to sue them. You can probably guess how well that went. It eventually pulled its faceplates last month after receiving several cease-and-desist letters from Sony. Dbrand returned a few days later with a redesigned faceplate quite different from Sony’s own design. How well this fares remains to be seen.