A recently published patent for a "Flat Joystick Controller" may hint at Sony's plans to release a revamped PlayStation Move controller.
Filed in June 2012 and published earlier this month, the patent details a controller which looks similar in its basic form to PS Move, but features a touch surface and a different button layout.
The introductory section of the patent describes the device in the following terms:
"A controller device to interface with a computer gaming system includes a body having a handle and an object disposed at one end of the handle. A touch surface is disposed on one side of the handle. The touch surface has an indicator that is identified by a surface characteristic on the touch surface. The touch surface provides an area for receiving directionality control in response to interfacing by a finger of a user.
"In addition to the touch surface, a plurality of buttons are disposed on the body. A circuitry is disposed in the body of the controller. The circuitry is configured to receive data indicative of a directionality control and transmit the data to a game console for impacting an action by a program executing on the computer gaming system."
A later section of the patent reads:
"In a traditional joystick, it's hard to keep a user's thumb still while the user provides input by engaging various motions with the joystick. This is due to the fact that in the joystick, the thumb's support moves. However, using a touch input surface, the thumb can be kept still while continuing to provide the user's input by pressing on the input surface. The pressing of the user's finger on the input surface causes friction that is recognized."
Whether the patented device will ever see the light of day isn't clear. Having launched in September 2010, PS Move sales stood at 15 million units by November 2012.