Sony Interactive Entertainment recently published a patent for a VR motion controller that look suspiciously similar to Valve’s Index controllers, aka ‘Knuckles. The news was first reported by LetsGoDigital (Dutch).

All products have patents, although not all patents go on to become products—it’s not clear whether the controller outlined in the 34-page Japanese language document is indeed destined to make its way into a bonafide piece of hardware, or if it’s simply a case of Sony planting a flag in the ground ‘just in case’.

What’s more, it’s also not clear whether this is indeed even intended for PSVR 2, Sony’s upcoming VR headset follow-up intended for use with the PS5 console. Let’s pretend for a second it is though, and talk a bit about the implications.

Filed with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), the patent outlines a VR motion controller with embedded LED tracking markers, or similar to how Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest track its respective Touch controllers.

The technical document also outlines that it could be tracked optically from the headset—again, very Oculus-like implementation here.

Image courtesy Sony Interactive Entertainment, WIPO

If that weren’t a stark enough contrast from the current PS Move controllers, as it would imply more reliable tracking that could include a which wider tracking volume than the front-facing PS Camera currently allows, it also presumes a more standard button layout with (gasp) a joystick. If you’ve ever dealt with the now seven year-old PS Move controllers for any length of time, you know how big of a deal that would be—and that’s for players and developers alike.

HP Reverb G2 Will Begin Shipping in November, New Orders in December

There’s no mention of finger tracking as with Valve Index Controllers, or a strap that would allow for open-hand gameplay, although the patent is more concerned with differing sensor configurations, detailing a cluster of 30 per controller.

Again, this may or may not be a PSVR 2 controller in the making, but it’s clear a more standard, optically tracked controller would be a big step in the right direction in bringing the platform’s capabilities in line with both the PC and standalone headset side of things. That’s of course provided the VR headset doesn’t rely on the upcoming PS5 HD Camera, which would bring up back to square one in terms of 360, occlusion-free tracking. Here’s to hoping.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • kontis

    That knuckles-style outward facing tracking ring makes NO sense when combined with controller tracking using cameras integrated to the HMD, because the hand will often occlude it.
    This is why Oculus redesigned touch controllers and changed the ring orientation when they switched from stationary sensors.

    It looks like someone slapped some stuff from Index and Quest without prototyping anything (or even thinking about it) and filled a patent…

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Why oh why not use the same tech as the Pico Neo 2, at least for extra tracking..

    But I think I already saw this design a few years ago on some prototypes from Sony, before Valve publicly showed their knuckles..

  • Rogue Transfer

    You forgot a couple things:

    1) Using LEDs on controllers tracked by an external(to controllers) camera is the same as the Rift CV1 controller tracking.

    2) The patent also mentions tracking by a mounted camera on a TV/desk, or by the mounted camera on the headset.

    As you can see, both are the same method of tracking, from the outside-in of the controller/s. Just like Constellation tracking was(and is, on the Rift S & Quest/2, as Nate Mitchell pointed out – they use a modified version of that in Insight for controller tracking – in an interview last year).

  • TechPassion

    Samsung??….. where is your Samsung Odyssey 2 headset with 2k x 2k, OLED and Index-like headphones? I wish to buy it. Not only me I guess… How long will you force us to wait? Will this ever happen? Why there is a complete silence on these googles? Patent filled long, long time ago and nothing…