There has been an interesting little mini drama surrounding the PS5, which has easily replaceable plastic body panels. Sony has threatened to sue companies offering alternative replacements. dbrand, a company whose bread and butter is user-customizable, is calling out Sony’s bluff. It is now selling matte black panel replacements for the PS5̵
The “Darkplates” can also be purchased with a vinyl skin wrapper for the center section of the PS5, available in black, white, neon yellow and a few pattern options. At the moment the plates are only available for a full PS5 with a disc drive; a version for the PS5 “Digital Edition” will be released later. The plates were ordered quickly afterwards and by the time the fourth wave is shown as shipping in May 2021.
The dbrand promotional website has a cheeky piece of text in the top left corner: “Go ahead, sue us.” The rest of the promo page is roughly on the same level. This is what it says about the pattern printed on the bottom:
When you look at this microscopic texture in the Darkplates, what do you see? If your answer is “a well-known, but legally distinct apocalyptic twist on the classic PlayStation button shapes,” you might be one of our lawyers.
While it seems clear that Sony designed the PS5’s panels to be easily removable (there’s a currently unused M.2 storage slot underneath the top), the company hasn’t shown any inclination to use its own decorative replacement panels. to sell. It is possible that the design choice was made to easily accommodate special editions of the console, often with major game releases.
It’s also not at all clear whether Sony would win a legal battle against a body panel accessories retailer. It certainly has a design patent on the PS5 itself as a whole, but selling accessories and replacement parts for retail products is a widespread practice. Replacement enclosures for video game hardware, including Sony’s own consoles and controllers, have been widely sold for decades. If Sony wants to argue, it seems dbrand is ready and willing to give one.
Source: Dbrand via The Verge