The real gaming console wars begin this fall and some are already saying that Sony's PS4 has the edge over Microsoft's Xbox One. The good news for PlayStation fans is that Sony is already working on an alternative game controller that will be geared to play advanced 3D games. The alternate gaming controller Sony has in mind will include a new secondary touch panel sitting in between a user's thumbs. In addition, Sony introduces a new 3D control bar button to initiate advanced 3D action to control weapons, vehicles and more.
Sony's '3D Control Bar' Button
In Sony's patent figure 1 illustrated below we find an example of a new project concerning an alternate PlayStation game controller that will work with advanced 3D video Games.
As you could see further below in patent FIGS. 10A and 10B, Sony is making the clear distinction between a standard next generation (PS4) game controller and one that will be available at some point in the future that will provide a new control for future advanced 3D games.
As you could see in Sony's patent FIG. 7, the front end has the motion controller feature that will be present in the PS4 game controller. So it's the same Sony team which is now presenting the new 3D Control Bar concept which gives the patent pending idea additional credibility.
There are really two main themes at play here. The first is the 3D Control Bar and the other is a secondary built-in touch screen.
In Sony's patent FIG. 7 illustrated above we see a bottom view of a future PS game controller that illustrates the bottom portion of the 3D control bar (# 22) which is visibly protruding from a recess. This is obviously designed to allow a user's finger to control certain types of movement within a 3D environment in new ways. Unfortunately Sony patent never delves into any meaningful detail as to what actions that this feature will provide, so we're left to speculate.
In patent figure FIG. 8 below we see a cross-section view of the PS game controller showing the operation of the 3D control bar. As noted, the 3D control bar extends through the main body of the controller from the top surface of the main body to its bottom surface. The 3D control-bar includes top and bottom pads for contacting a user's fingers.
In one embodiment, the control bar is mounted at its central location and pivots about its central location. Thus the horizontal movement of the top pad causes movement of the bottom pad in the opposite direction, and vice versa. Additionally, in one embodiment, the 3D control bar can be translated in a vertical fashion up or down. In another embodiment, the 3D control bar can also be translated in a horizontal direction, moving the entire control bar in a horizontal manner.
Sony states that a sensor detects movement of the control bar and a sensor data analyzer analyzes the raw data from the sensor to determine the orientation and/or movement of the control bar.
The secondary touch panel of the game controller as noted in patent FIG. 2 allows a user to easily use their thumbs to use the touch display as a form of joystick to control a three dimensional virtual environment.
Typically, one joystick would control the x-axis translation (right and left translation) and z-axis translation (forward and reverse translation) of the viewpoint, while the other joystick controlled the pitch (vertical rotation) and yaw (horizontal rotation) of the viewpoint. However, the use of a vertically oriented joystick to control pitch and yaw is non-intuitive.
However, in contrast to the non-intuitive control scheme just described, the touch panel and joystick #18 combination shown in patent figure 3 can be utilized in a much more intuitive fashion to enable control of a virtual viewpoint. In one embodiment, the joystick #18 is utilized to control x-axis translation and z-axis translation, and the touch panel #26 is utilized to control pitch and yaw.
So what will the new controls do? Beyond controlling a virtual viewpoint, the patent states that the control schemes will be able to be applied to controlling motion, orientation, or position of any type of character, vehicle, weapon, or other object within a virtual environment. This type of controller will also enhance games controlling airplane action.
Sony filed their patent application under serial number 539311 back in Q2 2012. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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