Over the past 4 generations of PlayStation, Sony has not made a tremendous number of changes to the design of the controller. In fact, there is a popular meme that plays on this common knowledge, though the meme is really about Nintendo, the inverse of Sony. However, a new filing from the company might indicate what is potentially the largest usability upgrade to the controller design ever. While the front panel on the DUALSHOCK 4 controllers might be a big visual change, they turned out to be less of an everyday feature.
This filing, which comes to us care of the World Intellectual Property Organization, shows a controller with two new buttons across the back. For PlayStation fans, the design will look familiar, in the form of the DUALSHOCK 4 Back Button Attachment. This accessory adds two buttons to the back of the current controller, but any time you have an accessory, you have limited support. If a developer cannot guarantee a piece of hardware, they tend to ignore it.
This filing is, in no way, suggests that this design is the official design for the DUALSHOCK 5 controller. However, the idea that Sony might be bringing additional buttons to the next generation controller is exciting. However, the really exciting aspect is the use of these buttons. Rather than being a new set of semi-supported controls, like the touch sensors on the current controls, these new buttons are designed to be customizable. That means that you could set them to be the X and O buttons, allowing for an easier and more natural jump and melee access.
Over the next 6 months, between this publishing and E3 2020, the company will likely nail down the final design of the controller. So, for today, take this design filing with a grain of salt, as everything is subject to change.