Sony Could Sell Swappable PS5 Faceplates—Here’s Why That’s Kind of Annoying

The dbrand Darkplates 1.0 PS5 faceplates, which Sony shot down with a cease and desist.
dbrand’s custom PS5 faceplate, which Sony shot down with a cease and desist. dbrand

One of the PS5’s most interesting features is its removable faceplates, which provide access to internal components and make the console extremely easy to customize. And now, a patent filing shows that Sony could sell its own PS5 faceplates, likely with cool colors and designs. But why hasn’t any other company tried this?

Simply put, Sony has threatened to sue every company and designer that tries to sell custom PS5 faceplates. dbrand is the only reputable company to continue selling PlayStation 5 faceplates, arguing that its plates don’t violate any existing trademarks. (And even then, dbrand had to scrap its original plate design for one that’s less “official” looking after a cease and desist order.)

Sony's patent for PS5 faceplates.
Sony’s patent for PS5 faceplates. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

If Sony launches a line of swappable PS5 faceplates, which seems likely, then it will face practically zero competition from third parties. It’s a frustrating situation that limits customer choice and could force PS5 owners to spend more than they should on hunks of plastic. (My guess is that these faceplates will cost about $80 each, which would be a lot more profitable than selling limited edition consoles with cool designs.)

There’s a chance that Sony will go easy on third-party manufacturers once it launches a line of official PS5 plates. But the company could double down on its stance, and if that’s the case, its new patent would provide solid grounds for any lawsuit. Companies can change their PS5 faceplate design, but they can’t really change components (like the hooks) that actually let plates attach to a PS5.

One last note—Sony doesn’t need to kill off competition to make money selling faceplates. Customers who want first-party plates will buy them, especially if they have custom designs featuring characters, logos, or other elements that are protected under copyright law (and therefore illegal for other companies to reproduce).

Source: TechRadar