Sony's PS4 phone controller patent isn't enough to get us excited for its mobile games

It's no secret that Sony is looking to push harder into mobile games in the near future, and we've been waiting to see what that actually means. Now a new patent for some mobile gaming hardware might give us our first clue.

As spotted by VideoGamesChronicle, Sony's Japanese arm was recently granted a patent for a mobile phone games controller that looks similar to the PS4 Dualshock (pictured above), except it sandwiches a smartphone.

This dual-controller smartphone gaming peripheral design is something we've seen before, notably with the Razer Kishi which has proven somewhat popular. The real difference here is how much like a PS4 controller the thing looks, and you're apparently meant to use grips like on the PS4 controller, and not just hold the side of the accessory like with the Kishi or most other mobile controllers.

This is just a patent, so a finished product might look quite different (or not come at all). With its big push into mobile gaming, it's no surprise Sony is considering hardware to work with smartphones, though a patent doesn't guarantee a physical device is coming.

However we hope Sony's big drive into smartphone gaming isn't limited to hardware, because that's not what mobile games need right now.

Analysis: it's in the software

The major thing limiting people from enjoying big-franchise games on their smartphones isn't the hardware. Phones are sometimes more powerful than laptops now, and game controller accessories have been a thing for a while – some gaming phones even have built-in triggers.

No, the real thing that stops the enjoyment of triple-A mobile games is the serious lack of actual top-end games to play.

Sure, we sometimes see popular indie titles ported over to mobile and tablet, but until we see the next Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed launch on smartphones, mobile gaming will still have a long way to go.

You might be saying 'triple-A games won't play on phones like that', but such a statement is provably false. Streaming services like Google Stadia and Amazon Luna let you stream big-title games from the internet, onto your tiny little smartphone.

The problem is that game streaming services are rather temperamental, and still require great internet connection to enjoy – you can't boot up Cyberpunk 2077 when you're on the underground or Elder Scrolls 6 when you're out in the countryside.

But it proves the mobile form factor works for traditional console games – there just needs to be a way to get them to play offline on standard smartphones. With each new year of mobiles getting more and more powerful, it'll become more and more feasible in the coming years.

We just hope Sony's pledge to focus more on mobile games results in more genuine console-like experiences, not endless-runners like Crash Bandicoot On The Run or card games like the new Wipeout.

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